Borrowed-car chase leads to jail

A 24-year-old Oak Harbor man who tried to flee from police in a moderate-speed chase has ended up in jail.

Brian Lawrence pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court April 21 to attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

As part of the plea bargain, the prosecution and defense both recommended a two-month sentence and Judge Alan Hancock agreed. He also ordered Wilson to pay $1,117 in fines and fees.

Oak Harbor Police Officer Gary Tilleson wrote that he saw a sports car with a license plate light out traveling on SW Eighth Avenue in the early morning hours of April 6. He followed but the driver attempted to evade him, traveling at 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, the report states.

The officer turned on his lights and sirens, but the car did not yield. The driver made a right turn onto Highway 20 from SW Erie without stopping at the red light and sped up to 65 miles per hour, Tilleson wrote.

Tilleson slowed down, but continued following, after his superior officer told him “not to elevate the situation to a pursuit,” the report states.

The sports car turned onto Fort Nugent Road and the officer noticed smoke coming from the vehicle. The officer followed as the car turned onto a private road, into the backyard of a residence, down an embankment, and through bushes and small trees.

Tilleson ran to the vehicle and found the driver’s door open, the driver’s seat empty and a 20-year-old woman in the passenger seat. The right front tire was missing from the rim.

Tilleson wrote that he heard the snapping of twigs in the bushes and saw a man running. A couple of other officers, who had arrived to help, located Lawrence a short time later.

Lawrence told Tilleson that a friend had loaned him the car and the officer confirmed that it was true. Lawrence said he eluded police because he thought his friend might have reported the car stolen because of the amount of time he had used it, the report states.

Also, Tilleson wrote that Lawrence’s drivers license was suspended.

Lawrence said he may have hit a curb and blown out the tire, court documents show.

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