Trial date reset for vehicle assault suspect

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WALLA WALLA — A new trial date has been set for a man suspected of leading police on a high-speed vehicle chase last winter resulting in an injury crash.

Vernon Ray Johnson Jr., 32, now is scheduled for trial Feb. 20 in Walla Walla County Superior Court on the charges of vehicular assault, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and possessing methamphetamine — all felonies. He also is charged with use of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

The proceedings have been postponed from an initial start date of Nov. 27.

Officials said Johnson was driving a stolen Honda Accord when he led police on the Feb. 19, 2012, chase that ended when the Honda plowed into a pickup at Bryant Avenue and Howard Street. Meth reportedly was found in the Honda.

The pickup’s driver, Jeffrey H. Callow, was injured.

Johnson suffered severe head trauma and had been at an undisclosed rehabilitation facility until he walked away around Aug. 17, officials said.

He was found and arrested Aug. 22 in Walla Walla on probation violations from previous convictions and charged Sept. 5 with the crimes related to the February chase. Bail was set at $100,000.

Co-defendant Myranda R. York, 23, who was a passenger in the stolen Honda, is serving an 18-month prison term.

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