A felon who led Yakima police on a dangerous chase in a stolen car was sentenced Tuesday to 3½ years in prison.
Carl Eugene Gonderman, 37, of Yakima had 16 felony convictions prior to the chase. He now has 17. Federal prosecutors have indicted him on a firearms charge as well.
The conviction stemmed from an April 14 chase that began when a Yakima patrolman tried to stop a stolen car in the Safeway parking lot on Fifth Avenue.
The driver roared out of the parking lot and up Lincoln Avenue at more than 60 mph, running light signals and stop signs before the officer terminated the chase for safety reasons.
The driver soon abandoned the car in the 1200 block of Roosevelt Avenue, but Gonderman was captured as he fled the area.
After the arrest, police reported the discovery of a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol on the floorboard of the car directly under the driver’s seat.
Officers got a warrant and later located a safe behind the driver’s seat containing a loaded .22-caliber pistol. A small amount of meth also was located in the car.
County prosecutors initially charged Gonderman with a firearms violation in addition to eluding and possession of a stolen car, the charges Gonderman pleaded to on Tuesday.
The firearms charge was dismissed, however, after federal prosecutors stepped in. Penalties for firearms violation are usually more severe at the federal level. That case is still pending.