Walla Walla A man with an extensive criminal history was given what officials called a “last chance” when he was sentenced Monday afternoon to a prison term that includes a requirement he undergo and complete drug-offender treatment.
Antonio S. Contreras was ordered to serve two years and one month behind bars, followed by a like amount of time on community custody after his release.
Contreras pleaded guilty last week to driving a stolen pickup involved in a vehicle chase with law enforcement in May.
The sentence imposed Monday by Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann is a drug-offender alternative, recommended by the prosecution.
The standard range Contreras faced was about 3 1/2 to 4 3/4 years. But under the sentencing alternative, Contreras will serve half the midpoint of the standard range in prison, with the remainder in outpatient treatment. He was given credit for 58 days he’d already served in the County Jail related to the crimes.
If Contreras violates any condition of the alternative sentence while on community custody, he would face revocation and could be sent back to prison.
Before the sentence was imposed, Contreras read a statement acknowledging his bad choices and decisions, and expressing gratitude that no one was seriously hurt by his actions. He told Lohrmann he’s not “a lost cause,” but a good person who is addicted to crystal methamphetamine.
“I understand my addiction is a disease,” he said, and asked for help.
Contreras, 26, has been convicted in the past of 15 crimes — including assaults, thefts and drug-related offenses — dating back to 2000 when he was a juvenile.
His attorney, Jim Barrett, said his client doesn’t want to fail in the treatment program “and that impresses me.” Also, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden told Lohrmann he believes the treatment alternative for Contreras is a good idea.
“We have nothing to lose. It’s kind of his last chance,” Golden said.
Lohrmann agreed, telling Contreras: “I am impressed you are willing to do it in a serious manner.” Lohrmann ruled that the alternative sentence is in the best interest of Contreras and the community.
Contreras pleaded guilty Thursday to two felonies — possession of a stolen motor vehicle and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.
He was arrested after a College Place police officer saw the 1994 Ford Ranger about 1 p.m. May 13 in the area of College Avenue and 13th Street. When the officer confirmed the vehicle was stolen, he pursued it, and saw the driver run a stop sign and drive on the wrong side of the road, according to a Sheriff’s Office report filed in court.
Speeds were clocked at up to about 70 mph before the pickup crashed on Stateline and Rainville roads and rolled over, officials said.
Passenger Katie A. Sargent — also known as Katie A. Waite — was partially ejected and suffered possible internal injuries. She was taken by ambulance to Providence St. Mary Medical Center, but reportedly walked out of the emergency room while being treated.
Contreras, who had run east from the scene of the crash, was located by authorities and taken to Walla Walla General Hospital, where he was treated and then booked into the County Jail.
Officials also said they located suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia outside of the pickup, Contreras was uncooperative and his driver’s license had been suspended.
As part of a plea agreement with Contreras, the prosecution agreed to drop five initial charges — vehicular assault, possessing methamphetamine, using drug paraphernalia, third-degree driving while license suspended and obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Had Contreras been convicted of all counts, his standard-range prison term would have been 5 1/4 to seven years.