GRANDVIEW — An armed robbery in Grandview led to two carjackings and a high-speed chase over Blewett Pass late Monday night.
Authorities said the incident, which spanned three counties and covered more than 130 miles before police called off their chase for safety reasons, began about 6:20 p.m., when a man armed with a rifle entered a minimart in 100 block of East Wine Country Road in Grandview and demanded cash from the register. He then fled in a 1998 Cadillac DeVille.
About 10 minutes later, two good Samaritans stopped to check whether anyone was hurt in a wrecked Cadillac they found in a ditch in the 2700 block of Wilson Highway, about three miles north of the store. Instead, they were confronted by a man who pointed a gun at them and demanded their vehicle, according to a news release from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.
They drove off before the man could take their car. However, when a nearby resident walked over to the Cadillac to ensure everyone was OK, the man turned the gun on him and demanded his keys, according to Grandview police.
The suspect, 21-year-old Marcel Maldonado of Grandview, then fled in the stolen 1987 Ford Ranger, while the Cadillac from the robbery was left at the side of the road.
A second carjacking occurred less than an hour later at a rest area north of Selah on Interstate 82.
Deputies said a male had gone to the restroom when a man drove up, pointed his gun at the woman sitting in their 2011 silver Volkswagen Jetta and ordered her out before driving off in the Jetta. Left behind was the Ford Ranger.
The male victim fired several shots from his own firearm at his stolen car as the carjacker drove off, but doesn’t know if he struck anything, authorities said.
Alerted to the carjacking, police in Kittitas County saw the car on U.S. Highway 97 and began a high-speed chase that continued over Blewett Pass.
Washington State Patrol troopers began pursuing the vehicle near Ingalls Creek but stopped near Dryden as speeds topped 100 mph.
Maldonado is described as being 5 feet, 8 inches and 162 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a Raiders ball cap, blue jacket and black pants with a gray stripe.
Anyone with information on Maldonado’s whereabouts or the stolen Jetta is asked to call 911.
The silver Jetta’s license plate is AFB9512.
• Information from the Wenatchee World was included in this report.