OKANOGAN Two teenagers were arrested Oct. 24 after allegedly leading officers from several agencies on a high-speed chase from Okanogan to Leahy Junction in Douglas County.
The 15-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy, who allegedly is the son of the vehicle’s owner, were arrested and taken to the Okanogan County Juvenile Center.
The girl, from Brewster, was detained on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, attempting to elude a police vehicle, reckless driving and driving without a license.
The boy, also from Brewster, was detained on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and attempting to elude a police vehicle.
Neither one has been charged, the Okanogan County Prosecutor’s Office said. Their names have not been released.
Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Joe Somday said vehicle owner Benigno Hernandez, who lives on Max Goehry Road near Brewster, reported at 2:23 p.m. that his newly purchased vehicle had been stolen. His son allegedly took the keys from his mother’s purse.
A little after 9 p.m., Sgt. Gene Davis, who responded to the call, spotted the vehicle on state Highway 20 near South First Avenue in Okanogan. He turned around an attempted to stop the vehicle, which allegedly ran a stop sign and took off south onto U.S. Highway 97.
He pursued the vehicle, with the girl driving, at speeds of up to 105 mph, Somday said. The vehicle allegedly drove down the middle of the road and swerved toward oncoming vehicles, and almost hit an oncoming tractor-trailer.
Sgt. Kevin Arnold joined the pursuit and the chase continued onto state Highway 17 north of Brewster and then across the Columbia River.
A Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted to deploy spike strips, but was unsuccessful, Somday said.
The chase continued on state Highway 17 with a Washington State Patrol trooper taking over as primary pursuer and Davis as the secondary. The vehicle allegedly slowed to about 80 mph and continued to drive down the middle of the road, swerving at oncoming vehicles.
At around 9:40 p.m., the pursuit approached the intersection of state highways 17 and 174, at Leahy Junction, at speeds of 105 mph. The vehicle slowed about 35 mph and the trooper performed a pursuit intervention tactic (PIT), which ended the chase.
A PIT maneuver is a pursuit tactic in which a pursuing car runs into the fleeing car, forcing it to turn sideways and causing the driver to lose control and stop.
Both Hernandez’s vehicle and the trooper’s patrol vehicle received minor damage. Hernandez’s vehicle was impounded, Somday said.