Details emerged Wednesday on a pair of high-speed chases in the Yakima area the previous night that sent three people to the hospital and three people to jail.
The misadventures — which included a gun being fired at one of the vehicles — began at 6:38 p.m. Tuesday, when a Yakima County sheriff’s deputy tried to stop a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup for pulling a trailer with flat tires on Spring Creek Road, just west of the Yakima airport.
The truck took off, soon losing control of the wobbling trailer, according to the pursuing deputy — identified in an arrest affidavit as Chief of Patrol Stew Graham.
Over the next 26 minutes, the chase wound its way over to Ahtanum Road, then east to Union Gap before making a U-turn and heading west to Wiley City and beyond.
At one point the fleeing driver led officers, including Washington State Patrol troopers, into an orchard off Meadowbrook Road, where one of the officers got stuck. Speeds exceeded 80 mph.
The gunfire occurred moments after the Dodge — which had been reported stolen — pulled onto Slavin Road.
Deputies said the truck entered a dead end, but continued beyond the road’s end before stopping. Deputy Dan Cypher left his patrol car to order the driver and a passenger out. The Dodge then went into reverse.
Cypher fired once at the truck — and missed. The truck lurched forward but soon got stuck in a ditch. The driver, identified as Tobias Pritchard of Union Gap, and passenger Ronald Ray Sutton, were soon in custody.
Pritchard, 39, was booked on multiple charges, including eluding, first-degree assault and possession of a stolen vehicle. Bail was set at $100,000.
Sutton, 43, also of Union Gap, was booked on a charge of eluding as well. His bail was set at $50,000.
Prosecutors have two days to file formal charges or release them.
The second chase occurred about 20 minutes after the first one ended. It was over much quicker, but not without more mayhem.
According to an arrest affidavit, the chase started at 7:30 p.m. when a state trooper heading west on Interstate 82 in Yakima stopped a speeding Pontiac G6 that had overtaken him from behind.
The driver initially stopped, the trooper said, then took off, quickly accelerating to 90 mph before taking the Yakima Avenue-Terrace Heights exit. The vehicle ran a red light, smashing into two other vehicles.
The first vehicle was a black SUV carrying seven people, including five children. None was injured.
The occupants of the other vehicle, 32-year-old Jenna Seaunier of Pasco and 5-year-old Seth Adams, were taken to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
The driver of the Pontiac, identified by the State Patrol as 33-year-old Sara K. Thaxton of Yakima, also suffered minor injuries in the crash and was treated at Memorial.
She has since been booked into the Yakima County jail for suspicion of drunken driving and vehicular assault. Bail was set at $250,000.
The trooper who tried to stop her said he recognized Thaxton, having arrested her only two weeks ago. The charge: DUI.