Chase after wreck leads to arrest

Rueben J. Lopez allegedly fled after a car he was riding in was involved in a hit-and-run crash.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who was wanted on a warrant was apprehended this morning following a hit-and-run collision and a short foot chase in the western part of the city, police said.

The wreck between two moving vehicles occurred about 7:25 a.m. at Chase Avenue and Chestnut Street, according to police Sgt. Matt Wood. No serious injuries were reported.

One of the vehicles allegedly left, but was stopped by officers at Chase and Maple Street. As officers were talking to the occupants, passenger Rueben J. Lopez -- who had an outstanding warrant -- took off running, Wood said.

Officers chased Lopez on foot for less than a block until he was caught. But a county sheriff's deputy had to deploy a Taser to Lopez to overcome his resistance, according to Wood.

Lopez, 30, was taken to a local medical facility to be examined for some type of "mental breakdown" he claimed to be experiencing, Wood said.

Police Officer Eric Knudson fell during the foot pursuit and suffered minor hand injuries, which were treated at the scene by ambulance paramedics.

The investigation into the reported hit-and-run collision was continuing this morning, Wood said.

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

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