Walla Walla man sentenced in high-speed chase

Lonnie L. Montoya was ordered to serve 20 days on a work crew to complete a four-month sentence.

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WALLA WALLA -- A Walla Walla man who earlier pleaded guilty to leading authorities on a high-speed vehicle chase in October was sentenced Monday afternoon in Superior Court.

Lonnie L. Montoya, 29, of 205 W. Chestnut St., Apt. 3, was ordered to serve four months in the County Jail, with credit for 100 days he'd already served. The remaining 20 days will be served on the Department of Corrections work crew following six months of inpatient chemical abuse treatment he will undergo in connection with an unrelated charge of possessing methamphetamine.

The term Montoya received for the chase is the low end of the four- to 12-month standard range he faced after pleading Dec. 17 to attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Two additional charges -- reckless endangerment and driving without a license -- that initially were filed against him were dismissed, according to terms in a plea agreement.

The sentences were imposed by Judge John Lohrmann.

The eluding and DUI charges against Montoya resulted from an Oct. 2 chase that began near Nine-Mile Hill on U.S. Highway 12. In a report filed in court, a Washington State Patrol trooper says he spotted the eastbound vehicle Montoya was driving at about 6:40 p.m. The vehicle was traveling faster than the 60-mph speed limit, according to the trooper's report.

Montoya then tried to elude the trooper who was attempting to catch up to him at speeds of at least 115 mph. The Montoya vehicle reportedly crossed over the center line several times and traveled east in the westbound lane, endangering other motorists.

After about eight minutes, the vehicle ran into a ditch near Spalding Road. Montoya reportedly jumped into the right rear seat and fell to the ground when the door opened.

The trooper wrote in his report that he could smell intoxicants on Montoya's breath, and he had red, watery eyes and slurred speech. Montoya was taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center for treatment of a possible leg injury, then was booked into the County Jail.

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

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