Man sentenced in high-speed chase

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SOAP LAKE — A Ephrata man will be spending 60 days in jail for leading deputies on a high-speed chase that reach 95 mph near Soap Lake.

Richard Lester, 37, of Ephrata, pleaded guilty in Grant County Superior Court to attempting to elude. Following a joint recommendation between Chief Deputy Alan White and defense attorney Stephen Kozer, Grant County Superior Court Judge John Antosz sentenced Lester to 60 days in jail.

On Jan. 21 Grant County Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted to stop a vehicle with a defective headlamp on state Route 28. A deputy turned on his emergency lights, but the driver, Lester, took a turn onto North Division Road, in Soap Lake, according to court documents.

Lester turned into a gas station at the corner of SR-28 and North Division Road. He drove through the parking lot at a high speed and pulled back out onto SR-28 and started traveling east, reaching 65 mph in a 45 mph zone. He attempted to make a left turn and head into the city of Soap Lake, but was going too fast for the turn and continued heading east. He later turned onto Road 20 Northwest, slammed on his brakes, turned around near Road A.3 Northeast, slammed on his brakes again and came to a stop.

“This time the driver put his upper body out of the driver side window and was yelling something at me,” wrote a deputy. “I could not make out what he was saying due to my emergency sirens being activated.”

Lester took off again and started traveling west on SR-28, where he reached speeds of 95 mph. He came to a stop east of Road A Northwest and refused to comply with deputies who were telling him to get out of the vehicle. Lester told deputies to shoot him several times and got out of the vehicle momentarily, but got back in and took off. Authorities attempted to use spike strips on the vehicle near Road A. 7 Northwest, but Lester was able to drive around the strips and avoid them.

“As Lester went around the spike strips he turned around again and started heading towards oncoming patrol vehicles. Lester stopped and revved his engine,” wrote a deputy. “It appeared as if Lester wanted to ram a patrol vehicle. Spike strips were again deployed as Lester was stationary. Lester took off again and this time he ran over a set of spike strips causing the right front tire to deflate.”

Lester stopped again near Road A Northwest, where an officer was able to talk him out of the vehicle and effect his surrender without further incident.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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