Trial date set in eluding case

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A man has pleaded innocent to leading law enforcement on a vehicle chase last winter beginning in College Place and ending in the county.

Jonathan L. Struthers, 28, of 18 Sweet Onion Lane, Walla Walla, is scheduled for trial Oct. 16 in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Judge John Lohrmann set the date Friday.

He also signed an order finding Struthers mentally competent for his case to proceed based on an evaluation prepared by Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake that was ordered earlier. Struthers reportedly had been refusing medications while in the County Jail.

Struthers is charged with attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Officials said the March 6 pursuit began about 5 a.m. after a College Place police officer pulled Struthers over at North College Avenue and Blalock Drive for failing to dim his lights.

Responding to the officer in a “sluggish” manner, Struthers eventually said he was being detained illegally and drove off during the contact, according to a police report filed in court.

He traveled at varying fast and slow speeds on county roads west of College Place, periodically turning the vehicle’s lights on and off, the police report says.

A Walla Walla County Sheriff’s deputy deployed a spike strip and Struthers stopped on Bluff Haven Road near Last Chance and Frog Hollow roads about 5:45 a.m., according to officials.

Struthers was released on bail March 20, and is to obtain and comply with mental health treatment.

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