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July 19, 2018 | View PDF



Chase suspects sentenced

Two defendants involved in a high speed chase in the Johnson and Sand Road area southeast of Pullman were convicted last week in superior court. Both are from Spokane.

The chase started when Palouse Officer Joe Handley May 26 was working a joint emphasis patrol in Pullman and observed a pickup truck near the intersection of Stadium and Main streets in Pullman. Handley suspected the truck had been reported stolen and received verification.

The driver of the pickup turned off Main southbound on Johnson Road.

According to the arrest report, the truck, a 1996 Ford Ranger, had been stolen from Kendrick, Idaho, the previous week.

The chase ended when the pickup appeared to have mechanical problems, according to the arrest report. It said while the chase was underway, a meth pipe was thrown out of a window of the truck.

The driver of the pickup, identified as Austin M. Navarro, 26, Spokane, attempted to run from the scene and was chased by Handley. The report said Navarro stopped running after Handly threatened to shoot him with a tazer gun.

Navarro July 12 was sentenced to 20 months in state corrections after he pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to elude and possession of methamphetamine. The third charge of taking a motor vehicle without permission was dropped as part of a plea bargain agreement.

Navarro's past record led to an offender score of four. He was credited with time served in jail here since his May 26 arrest. He was also ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to the owner of the truck.

Derrick G. Bonato, 36, Spokane, was sentenced to nine months in jail after he pleaded guilty Friday morning to a charge of possession of methamphetamine. A second charge of taking a motor vehicle was dropped as part of a plea bargain agreement.

The arrest report by Deputy Tyler Langerveld said Bonato had been riding in the back passenger seat of the pickup and moved to the driver's seat after Navarro took off running.

Bonato's criminal record led to an offender score of five, so he faced a sentence of six to 12 months.

Defense Attorney Steve Martonick, asking for the shorter sentence, noted Bonato admitted sharing a meth pipe with other suspects, but that was the extent of his criminal acts in the case.

Judge Gary Libey noted overall circumstances of the case, including the chase of a stolen truck, pointed to the nine-month jail term. He cautioned Bonato that with his extensive record he could be sent to the state prison if he faced other charges in the future.

Motorcycle rider hurt

Susan A. Smith, 54, Deary, Idaho, was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center Sunday for treatment of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on Highway 27 south of Tekoa. According to the Washington State Patrol report, she was riding a 2007 Honda southbound and failed to negotiate a curve one mile south of Tekoa.

The motorcycle went off the highway and came to a stop on the highway shoulder.

 
 
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