Man pleads guilty in high-speed chase

Sterling T. Stapleton faces up to a year in the County Jail when he's sentenced.


WALLA WALLA -- A man pleaded guilty Monday to leading a county sheriff's deputy on a vehicle chase near Waitsburg earlier this year.

Sterling T. Stapleton, 25, entered the guilty plea in Walla Walla County Superior Court to attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, a felony charge.

He also pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, which is a gross misdemeanor.

Stapleton faces up to a year in the County Jail when he's sentenced later. The prosecution is recommending a two-month term, converted to house arrest.

Stapleton also initially was charged with second-degree driving while license suspended or revoked and driving in violation of an ignition interlock restriction. But those will be dropped in exchange for his guilty pleas.

Officials said the chase occurred the evening of Jan. 22. The deputy initially contacted Stapleton after his vehicle had 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 sped off. The deputy pursued Stapleton's 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 and remains free pending sentencing.


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