Milton-Freewater man pleads guilty in high-speed chase

David A. Pickett's agreement with prosecutors calls for drug treatment if he's amenable in exchange for a shorter prison term.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man has pleaded guilty in Walla Walla County Superior Court to leading patrol officers on a vehicle chase last June.

David A. Pickett, 35, entered the guilty plea Wednesday to the charge of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

He faces a standard-range prison term, based on his criminal record, of 22-29 months when he's sentenced later. But in a plea agreement, the prosecution is recommending an alternative sentence be imposed if an evaluation determines Pickett is amenable to drug treatment. The alternative would allow for a reduced period of incarceration if he complies with treatment requirements.

Also, a companion charge against Pickett of possession of a stolen motor vehicle will be dropped in exchange for his guilty plea.

Walla Walla police said Pickett 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. June 15.

When marked emergency vehicles started following him near Whitman and Howard streets, he sped south on Howard and Cottonwood Road, police said.

Pickett headed from Walla Walla on gravel and dirt back roads, eventually abandoning the car in an alley in the area of Fifth Avenue and Willow Street in Milton-Freewater. He was taken into custody a short distance from the scene and booked into the Umatilla County Jail on suspicion of being a fugitive from another state and for a parole violation.

During the pursuit, Pickett reportedly eluded officers for 13 miles, with speeds as high as 80 mph. "Pickett ran through at least four stop signs without stopping and swerved across the center line numerous times," according to a Walla Walla police report filed in court.

No injuries or property damage were reported. The vehicle had been stolen in Milton-Freewater within two hours of the chase, police said.

Pickett, of 53752 Appleton Road, No. 61, Milton-Freewater, was transported to the Walla Walla County Jail on Sept. 28 to face the local charges. Police said he had been arrested more than 15 times in the past and has a lengthy criminal history of drug crimes and other offenses.

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

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