Man pleads guilty to pursuit, gun charges

Elliott W. Barnes faces prison time and/or drug treatment when he's sentenced for the crimes

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WALLA WALLA -- A man has pleaded guilty in Superior Court to leading law enforcement officers on two vehicle pursuits in past months.

Elliott W. Barnes, 26, of 1702 Old Milton Highway, entered the guilty pleas Friday to two counts of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

He also pleaded guilty to one count each of possession of a stolen firearm and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Because of Barnes' extensive criminal history and the gun charges, he faces a standard-range prison term of about 10-13 years when he's sentenced later. But in exchange for his guilty pleas, the prosecution is recommending a drug-offender sentencing alternative.

Under the alternative, Barnes would serve nearly six years in prison and afterward be placed on nearly six years of community custody that would include a requirement he undergo outpatient drug treatment.

Barnes pleaded guilty to leading officers on two vehicle chases -- one that occurred this Feb. 8 and the other, on July 30 of last year. A third charge of felony-eluding stemming from a pursuit Feb. 5 will be dismissed, along with a charge of third-degree driving while license suspended.

Authorities said officers arrived at Barnes' residence shortly before 3 p.m. Feb. 8 to serve a warrant, but he drove off heading west on the highway.

He then headed south on Peppers Bridge Road while being pursued into Oregon by numerous patrol vehicles, and finally stopped on Locust Road between Winesap Road and the Old Milton Highway, officials said.

Barnes and other occupants fled from the vehicle, but Barnes was taken into custody a short time later after being located in a wood shed of a private residence.

After he was jailed, prosecutors charged him with leading officers on the other pursuits, which originated in the west end of Walla Walla.

He wasn't apprehended during either of those chases. But the vehicle he was driving Feb. 5 was located and a stolen handgun was found on the floor below the driver's seat, officials said.

Barnes is a four-time convicted felon, according to a police report.

He pleaded guilty in 2009 to felony eluding for leading officers on a high-speed, 18-mile chase in a stolen vehicle from Walla Walla into Oregon in February of that year. He subsequently was sentenced to just over a year in prison.

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

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