Trial date set for Walla Walla man in high-speed chase

Lonnie L. Montoya faces several charges in connection with a chase earlier this month on US Highway 12.

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WALLA WALLA -- A trial date has been set for a Walla Walla man facing four criminal charges after allegedly leading authorities on a high-speed vehicle chase earlier this month.

Lonnie L. Montoya, 28, of 205 W. Chestnut St., Apt. 3, is set for trial Dec. 14 in Walla Walla County Superior Court after pleading innocent Monday afternoon to attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, reckless endangerment and driving without a license.

The Oct. 2 chase allegedly began near Nine-Mile Hill on U.S. Highway 12. In a report filed in court, a Washington State Patrol trooper says he spotted the eastbound vehicle Montoya allegedly was driving at about 6:40 p.m. The vehicle was traveling faster than the 60-mph speed limit, according to the trooper's report.

Montoya then allegedly tried to elude the trooper who was attempting to catch up to him at speeds of at least 115 mph. The Montoya vehicle crossed over the center line several times and traveled east in the westbound lane, endangering other motorists, the report says.

After about eight minutes, the vehicle ran into a ditch near Spalding Road. Montoya reportedly jumped into the right rear seat and fell to the ground when the door opened.

The trooper wrote in his report that he could smell intoxicants on Montoya's breath, and he had red, watery eyes and slurred speech. Montoya was taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center for treatment of a possible leg injury, then was booked into the County Jail.

Bail was set at $25,000.

U-B reporter Andy Porter contributed to this report. Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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