GRANGER, Wash. — Instead of conceding to police who caught him driving in a stolen vehicle, a wanted suspect fled into the Yakima River and led police on a reckless chase by wading through the water and hiding in rugged terrain.
According to Sgt. Joel Panattoni of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to help Granger police officers with a wanted suspect at the ponds on the west side of the Yakima River. The first contact was made around 10:45 p.m. on October 26.
Officers spotted a stolen vehicle towing a stolen trailer and John Deere tractor and tried to make contact with the driver, who was later identified as 43-year-old Jason Walker. He is accused of fleeing from the vehicle and running into the river.
As he entered the waterway, deputies called for help from Yakima County Fire District No. 5, which responded with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that used thermal cameras to spot Walker in the river roughly an hour and 10 minutes later.
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Deputies demanded that he exit the water and turn himself over, but Walker allegedly refused and continued to walk downstream. He found a remote area of brush where he could hide out, but two more hours later, the UAV spotted him. Upon contact, he once again jumped into the river to escape downstream.
Near the south bank of the river at Emerald Rd, Walker exited the stream and held out on rugged terrain. He fell back into the water while trying to evade police while officers, deputies and a K9 unit rushed to bring him into custody.
It took nearly an hour of negotiating from that point, but Walker eventually gave up and turned himself in. Authorities say he then admitted to fleeing from police and deputies by entering the river three weeks prior near the 500-block of Rest Haven Rd.
His specific charges weren’t clarified, but Walker was returned to the custody of Granger police officers for a variety of charges.
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