MILTON-FREEWATER — A man who was given what officials said was a “last chance” at rehabilitation in 2012 was arrested Tuesday after a high-speed pursuit from Athena to Milton-Freewater.
Oregon State Police said Antonio Saturno Contreras, 27, was driving north on Highway 11 at about 11 a.m. when a trooper attempted to stop him for speeding. Instead of stopping, Contreras sped away, accelerating to more than 100 mph, the OSP said.
An Athena police officer joined the trooper for a short distance as the vehicle continued north. The state trooper broke off pursuit at the south end of Milton-Freewater.
Upon entering the city, the trooper spotted the Toyota abandoned in a yard behind bushes at S.E. 12th Avenue and Main street. About 45 minutes later, a resident reported seeing Contreras in an alley about two blocks from the abandoned car, the OSP said. He was arrested after a brief foot chase.
Contreras was booked into the Umatilla County Jail for investigation of eight charges, among them eluding, reckless endangerment, possession of methamphetamine and fugitive from justice.
Subsequent investigation determined the car, a 1993 Toyota Camry with Washington plates, was reported stolen on Monday in Walla Walla, police said.
Contreras, who has an extensive criminal history, had been sentenced in August 2012 to a prison term that included a requirement he undergo and complete drug-offender treatment. He was ordered to serve two years and one month, followed by a like amount of time on community custody.
He had pleaded guilty to driving a stolen pickup truck involved in a vehicle chase with law enforcement earlier that year.
At his sentencing, Contreras told Walla Walla County Superior Court John Lorhmann he was not a “lost cause” but a good person who is addicted to crystal methamphetamine.
“I understand my addiction is a disease,” he told Lohrmann.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden told Lohrmann he believed the treatment alternative for Contreras was a good idea.
“We have nothing to lose. It’s kind of his last chance,” Golden said at the time.
But according to court records, after his release from prison, Contreras failed to complete his treatment program and failed to comply with other terms of his release, including staying within Walla Walla County. A warrant for his arrest was issued on April 7.
Under the terms of the drug-offender sentencing alternative, Contreras now faces being returned to prison. He had faced a standard-range sentence of about 3½ to 4¾ years for the charge he pleaded guilty to in 2012.
Andy Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8318.