WALLA WALLA -- A man accused of leading a county sheriff's deputy on a vehicle chase near Waitsburg last month pleaded innocent Monday afternoon in Superior Court to four criminal charges.
Sterling T. Stapleton, 24, is set for trial April 25 on the charges of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, second-degree driving while license suspended or revoked and driving in violation of an ignition interlock restriction.
Officials said the chase occurred the evening of Jan. 22. The deputy initially contacted Stapleton after the vehicle Stapleton was driving stopped on the shoulder of Middle Waitsburg Road about 10:15 p.m.
When the deputy returned to his patrol vehicle to run a routine driver's check, Stapleton allegedly sped off. The deputy pursued the vehicle -- which eventually traveled at speeds of about 80 mph -- north on Middle Waitsburg until Stapleton tried to negotiate the intersection with U.S. Highway 12 and crashed into an embankment, according to a Sheriff's Office report filed in court.
Stapleton, of 122 Heron Hollow Road, Prescott, was arrested and booked into the County Jail. He later was released pending the outcome of his case.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.