Milton-Freewater man pleads guilty in chase

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WALLA WALLA — A Milton-Freewater man pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to leading law enforcement on a vehicle pursuit from that area, through Walla Walla to near Lowden earlier this month.

Eduardo C. Torres, 25, entered guilty pleas in Walla Walla County Superior Court to attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and a related charge of possessing methamphetamine.

He faces incarceration of six to 18 months under the state’s standard-range sentencing guidelines. In a plea agreement, the prosecution is recommending a year, and will dismiss additional charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and third-degree driving while license suspended or revoked.

Sentencing will be held later.

Officials said the chase began about 7:35 p.m. Feb. 4 when Torres — driving a 2006 Kia Spectra he reportedly took from his mother without permission — tried to elude Milton-Freewater police while heading north on Highway 11 toward Walla Walla.

Several patrol units from various agencies joined the chase at speeds fluctuating between 60 mph and 30 mph. The Kia struck spikes deployed by law enforcement at two locations along the way.

After the Kia reached the area of Ninth Avenue and Rose Street in Walla Walla, it apparently struck one vehicle, then hit a Milton-Freewater police unit, according to a Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office report filed in court.

The pursuit continued east onto Isaacs Avenue, north on Wilbur Avenue, then west on U.S. Highway 12.

Around this time, “the vehicle was running on one tire that was flat and three rims,” the sheriff’s office report says.

The Kia stopped just east of Lowden and Torres was apprehended.

He reportedly became cooperative, but talkative, and told officials he wanted to call for a tow truck because his car was out of oil.

Methamphetamine was found in one of his pant’s pockets when he was booked into the Walla Walla County Jail.

Torres’ guilty pleas Tuesday came unusually early in the process of prosecuting a case. He had been scheduled to complete his arraignment, at which defendants typically plead not guilty and a trial date is set.

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