Treatment scofflaw lands in prison

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WALLA WALLA — A woman initially sentenced to inpatient drug-offender treatment for her role in a high-speed vehicle chase and resulting injury crash last winter now will spend time in prison.

Myranda R. York, 23, was ordered this morning to serve 18 months because she admittedly left the treatment program in August and used drugs when she was at large.

Calling that behavior “defiant,” Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann revoked the alternative sentence York was handed in May and imposed the prison term, which is the high end of the standard range of a year-and-a-day to 18 months she faced.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney April King argued for the high end, saying York “basically absconded” when she left treatment and went back to her old associations, friends and drugs.

York has shown little remorse for victims in the case and “public safety requires a sentence at the high end of the range,” King said.

Defense attorney Gail Siemers had asked for the low end. She told Lohrmann the treatment program was “something (York) really wasn’t able to do,” but a lenient prison sentence would give her time to make better life decisions and get away from drugs.

In the end, Lohrmann was not receptive.

“It seems to me this calls for the high end,” he said. “The facts (surrounding the chase and crash) were very horrific to begin with.”

He added that “by the grace of God” someone wasn’t killed, and that York’s “risky” behavior later became “defiant” when she aborted treatment.

“I’m not going to give any leniency at this point,” Lohrmann said.

As required by law, he did give York credit for the 69 days she’s spent in jail related to the case. He also placed her on a year of community custody after her release from prison.

York initially was sentenced in May to six months of treatment and two years on community custody. The alternative sentence was imposed by Superior Court Commissioner Scott Wolfram, who was filling in for Lohrmann that day.

But York left treatment Aug. 10.

She reportedly had been bullying other clients at a treatment facility in Spokane Valley, so was put on a bus to enter a different facility in Chehalis. She never arrived, officials said.

York was apprehended in Walla Walla about two weeks later. She submitted to a urine drug test at the County Jail after her arrest. It tested positive for methamphetamine, marijuana and opiates, according to officials.

York pleaded guilty in April to being an accomplice to attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, an accomplice to vehicular assault and to possessing methamphetamine.

Officials said she was a passenger in a stolen Honda Accord driven by Vernon Ray Johnson Jr., who led police on the Feb. 19 chase before plowing into a pickup at Bryant Avenue and Howard Street. Meth was found on the passenger side of the Honda.

The pickup’s driver, Jeffrey H. Callow, 62, was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries.

But the most seriously hurt was Johnson, 32, who reportedly suffered severe head trauma.

He walked away from an undisclosed medical rehabilitation facility on or about Aug. 17, was apprehended Aug. 22 in Walla Walla and taken to the Washington State Penitentiary hospital to await a disciplinary hearing for alleged probation violations related to a previous case, officials said.

He was held there until he was transported to the County Jail on Sept. 21. His trial related to the February chase is set to begin Nov. 27 on charges of vehicular assault, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, possessing methamphetamine and using drug paraphernalia.

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