Man charged in beating, chase

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WALLA WALLA -- A man was charged Tuesday afternoon in Superior Court with using a bat to beat his girlfriend and hit another person last weekend, then leading police on a vehicle chase.

Nicholas T. Hunter, 21, of 410 N. Third Ave., is formally accused of two counts of second-degree assault, and one count each of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and third-degree malicious mischief.

Officials said Hunter got into an argument with his girlfriend, Jessica R. Taylor, at their home Sunday afternoon. Hunter choked Taylor on a bed, then she armed herself with a baseball bat outside the residence, police said.

Hunter wrested the bat away from Taylor, 20, and struck her with it multiple times all over her body, including her head, according to a police report filed in court.

Taylor's friend, Megan L. Mazetta, 19, tried to intervene, but Hunter allegedly struck her on her right arm before she got control of the bat. The women ran into the house, but Hunter kicked in the door, the police report says.

An officer arrived less than 40 seconds after dispatchers received a 911 call for help at 2:49 p.m. Hunter allegedly had fled in a tan Ford Bronco, which officers then pursued west on Pine Street, north on Ninth Avenue and west on Edith Avenue with Hunter traveling at speeds up to 70 mph. He stopped the vehicle and was apprehended in the 700 block of Edith, police said.

He was booked into the County jail. Bail later was set at $50,000.

Taylor and Mazetta were transported by ambulance to Providence St. Mary Medical Center for treatment of their injuries.

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