Burbank man pleads guilty in police chase

Joel Vasquez faces more than a year in prison in connection with the chase last month.


PRESCOTT -- A man pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to leading authorities on a high-speed vehicle chase in the western part of Walla Walla County into Franklin County last month.

Joel Vasquez, 29, of 144 Ash St. in Burbank, entered the guilty pleas in Walla Walla County Superior Court to charges of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and violation of a protection/no contact order -- domestic violence.

Vasquez faces a standard-range prison term of a year-and-a-day to 16 months when he's sentenced later. In a plea agreement, the prosecution is recommending the high end of that range.

Officials said the Aug. 4 pursuit began following a report shortly after 5 p.m. that Vasquez was violating a protection order in the 200 block of Coyote Loop in the Prescott area and had a handgun in his possession.

A responding deputy spotted Vasquez's Chevrolet Impala heading west on state Route 124, about 5 miles east of Burbank, and saw the vehicle pass several others on the right and left near Monument Drive, officials said.

Vasquez accelerated and eventually headed west on Highway 12 over the bridge into Pasco where Washington State Patrol and Pasco police units joined the pursuit.

Vasquez continued west at speeds exceeding 120 mph and proceeded north onto Highway 395, according to authorities. The vehicle reportedly spun out, struck a traffic sign at Eltopia West Road and Vasquez was arrested.

No injuries were reported. Officials said they recovered a handgun on the floorboard of the vehicle.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.


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