Drug offender sentencing alternative revoked for man in chase

David A. Pickett was ordered back to prison after failing to follow through with drug treatment.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who led patrol officers on a vehicle chase in June 2010 is being sent back to prison for violating conditions of his drug-offender alternative sentence.

David A. Pickett, 36, was ordered Thursday to serve the remainder of his prison sentence, an additional 123/4 months minus credit for time served, because he failed to follow through with chemical dependency treatment requirements.

Pickett had been released from prison July 21 and was supposed to serve the remainder on community custody, a form of probation. He reportedly disappeared a couple weeks after his release, then was apprehended and given an opportunity to complete a program at a treatment facility in Spokane.

But Department of Corrections officials received information Oct. 22 that he walked out of that facility and his whereabouts were unknown. He subsequently was arrested in Umatilla County and returned to the Walla Walla County Jail on Nov. 8.

Last January, Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a prosecution recommendation and defense request for the drug-offender alternative for Pickett, which was to have reduced his incarceration, but mandated he participate in treatment after his release.

Under the alternative, Pickett was sentenced to a prison term of 123/4 months, which is half the midpoint of the standard range of 22-29 months he faced based on his criminal record, and given credit for 112 days served in jail. That 123/4 months was to be followed by 123/4 months of treatment outside of prison.

Schacht said at the Jan. 18 sentencing he thought "long and hard" about giving Pickett -- an acknowledged drug addict with an extensive criminal history -- a chance at the treatment alternative. But Schacht concluded at the time the community would benefit if Pickett followed through.

Schacht said Thursday that Pickett has had several chances over the years to address his drug problems, but has failed to take advantage of them.

"So we tried and it didn't work," Schacht said about the DOSA opportunity. "The fact of the matter he's been given that opportunity and it hasn't worked out."

Pickett pleaded guilty Jan. 5 to the charge of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Walla Walla police said he was seen driving from a residence in the 600 block of South Palouse Street in a stolen white Honda Accord about 2:30 p.m. on June 15, 2010. Police pursued the vehicle to Milton-Freewater where it was abandoned in an alley. Pickett was taken into custody a short distance from the scene.

Pickett was transported to the Walla Walla County Jail on Sept. 28, 2010, to face the local eluding charge. He also was accused of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, but that charge was dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.

Reporter Andy Porter contributed to this story.

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