Local police charge driver of stolen vehicle

— Bail is set at $25,000 for the driver of a stolen vehicle who led police on a pursuit ending in Mabton this past Tuesday.

Jose Angel Ortega Jr., 37, of Sunnyside has been charged with attempting to elude law enforcement, theft of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, making and/or having burglary tools and driving while license suspended and/or revoked.

The pursuit started just after 2 a.m. when officer Skip Lemmon attempted to stop a black Honda on South Sixth Street. Police said the vehicle was being driven erratically.

Ortega failed to stop, was speeding in residential areas and accelerated before turning off the Honda’s headlights, officials said.

The pursuit continued east on East Lincoln Avenue before Ortega turned onto Sunnyside-Mabton Road. Lemmon said Ortega drove the Honda at speeds exceeding 80 mph southbound toward Mabton.

A sheriff’s deputy was in the area and laid spike strips just north of Mabton city limits.

Lemmon continued the pursuit even after Ortega ran over the spike strips, police said.

Ortega did not stop the Honda for several more miles, according to police. The pursuit ended at B Street and High School Road, officials said.

At that time, Ortega attempted to flee the vehicle on foot but was arrested without incident, officials said.

During the course of the investigation, officers learned the Honda was reported stolen by its owner.

Police said a shaved key commonly used in vehicle thefts was discovered in the ignition of the Honda.

Ortega has four prior felony convictions, including one for vehicle theft, police said.


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