Pursuit suspect was given ‘last chance’ in 2012


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 andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.


scottyr 1 year, 7 months ago

Sure, they learn to talk a good reform attitude but, in the end a mutt's a mutt.


anna08 1 year, 7 months ago

If you do not know him or his past and his actions have never directly affected you and you are neither God nor perfect who are you to judge him?


Cowboy01 1 year, 7 months ago

a law abiding citizen !! Who has earned the right to judge the idiots around me.


Bigdog 1 year, 7 months ago

Nobody is judging this young man, and I hope is able to straighten his life out. However, it is troubling for all citizens when our local judges coddle the criminals with pleas, and they continually renege on these agreements. Anyone on the road could have been injured or killed by this act of negligence. Like it or not, that is concerning for any citizen. There have been several cases in recent times where if the judges would have levied maximum sentences on previous criminal charges tried (instead of letting them walk), things would be much different. Cannot give specifics, due to ongoing investigations. I can say that two young ladies in their 20’s would still be alive. One savagely had her throat slashed (perpetrator still only received 13 years prison); the other girl was shot in the head. I can also say that a man that was critically injured in a police chase would not be suffering the agonizing pain of trying to heal for many months, and live with permanent injuries. This stuff is becoming all too common and could affect any of us.


Hersey 1 year, 7 months ago

This is not his first time at the rodeo for stealing a vehicle and eluding law enforcement


chicoli 1 year, 7 months ago

He is a "good person" who deserves substance abuse treatment while in prison serving the prescribed time according to the law. He is too dangerous out there, and a risk to hurt others during his drug seeking rampages.


PearlY 1 year, 7 months ago

Twice in one day that I agree with you 100%, Paco.


chicoli 1 year, 7 months ago

Oh, thank you so much. I also love it when you disagree with me as I consider you a clever, intelligent lady who cares about our society and its people. Your ideas are intellectually stimulating and for this all of us ought to thank you!


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