Man in chase sentenced to prison

Joel Vasquez pleaded guilty this week in connection with a chase last month.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who led authorities on a high-speed vehicle chase in the western part of Walla Walla County into Franklin County last month was sentenced this morning to a year and four months in prison.

Joel Vasquez, 29, of 144 Ash St. in Burbank, was ordered to serve the high end of the standard range amounting to a year-and-a-day to 16 months for three crimes he committed. In handing down the sentence, Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a prosecution recommendation.

Schacht gave Vasquez credit for the 44 days he'd already served in the County Jail.

Vasquez pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and violation of a protection/no contact order -- domestic violence.

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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