Man charged in pursuit, injury crash

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WALLA WALLA -- A man was formally charged Monday afternoon in Walla Walla County Superior Court with driving a stolen pickup involved in a vehicle chase with law enforcement last weekend and injuring his passenger in a resulting crash.

Antonio S. Contreras, 25, who reportedly has no permanent address, is accused of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and vehicular assault.

He also was charged with possessing methamphetamine, using drug paraphernalia, third-degree driving while license suspended and obstructing a law enforcement officer.

Officials said a College Place police officer saw the 1994 Ford Ranger about 1 p.m. on Sunday in the area of College Avenue and 13th Street. After confirming the vehicle was stolen, the officer pursued the pickup, seeing 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 for treatment.

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.

Bail has been set at $30,000.

Contreras and Sargent both had warrants for their arrests, as well, the Sheriff's Office report says.

Contreras' criminal history includes involvement in a home invasion robbery on Southeast Fourth Street in College Place in April 2011. He ended up pleading guilty to reduced charges because of his cooperation in the case and was sentenced to 11 months in the County Jail.

He said at his sentencing he's a good person when he's sober, but has addictions -- the worst of which is meth.

Sargent pleaded guilty in 2010 to second-degree robbery for a heist that occurred at a residence on Garrison Street in Walla Walla in June of that year. She also pleaded guilty to possessing meth and served a 10-month jail sentence for the crimes.

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