WALLA WALLA — A local man pleaded innocent Monday afternoon in Superior Court to leading a county sheriff’s deputy on a high-speed vehicle chase east of the city last month.
Jacob J. Melchor, 28, is set for trial Feb. 25 on the charge of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, in addition to related charges of driving under the influence and third-degree driving while his license is suspended or revoked.
Officials said the pursuit began about 11:45 p.m. Dec. 20 near U.S. Highway 12 at the exit to the Walla Walla Regional Airport after Deputy Ian Edwards saw the driver of a Chevrolet pickup — registered to Melchor’s father — commit numerous lane of travel violations.
The driver, believed to be Melchor, started speeding south on Airport Way, east onto Isaacs Avenue and then onto Mill Creek Road, according to a Sheriff’s Office report filed in court.
Speeds allegedly reached 90-95 mph as the pickup passed two vehicles before continuing onto Blue Creek Road.
Just past Klicker Mountain Road, the pickup’s driver failed to negotiate a 90-degree turn while traveling at an extremely high rate of speed, left the road and crashed through a steel gate and a wooden fence, the report says.
The driver — whose sandals fell off — fled in the darkness toward a creek. But Edwards located Melchor about four hours later walking along the 5000 block of Mill Creek Road.
Melchor wasn’t wearing any shoes, his jeans were soaked from the knee down, and his hands and knee were scraped and bloody, according to Edwards.
Melchor reportedly told Edwards he woke up in a ditch and was walking home.
Later, breath tests allegedly revealed Melchor’s blood-alcohol level was at about 0.09. The legal driving limit is 0.08.
Melchor was booked into the County Jail. Bail has been set at $7,500.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.