Men who led police chases are found and charged

Oak Harbor police caught two men who led police in high-speed chases in stolen cars this month, according to court documents.

Zachary M. Pederson, 23, and Miguel D. Rodriguez III, 21, both Oak Harbor residents, are charged with felonies in Island County Superior Court.

On Jan. 7, officers spotted a stolen Nissan Titan at a gas station and gave chase as it sped away. The driver went through stop signs, traveled at speeds exceeding the limit on Swantown and West Beach roads and turned off the headlights while speeding, according to an officer’s report.

The pursuit was called off because of the danger.

An officer later identified the driver from gas station video as Pederson, the report states.

On Jan. 8, a police officer saw Pederson driving another stolen vehicle, but he sped away and the pursuit was later terminated for safety reasons.

On Jan. 9, an officer spotted a stolen Mazda 3 parked on Southwest 24th Street.

The officer later said he recognized the driver sitting in the car as Pederson; Pederson drove off at a high speed, nearly striking the officer’s car door, a police report states.

The officer pursued the car to Fort Nugent, West Beach and Libbey roads. Pederson drove at speeds as high as 100 mph and turned off the headlights, the officer wrote.

Again, the pursuit was ended.

On Jan. 10, an officer spotted a stolen Nissan Altima and pursued it as the car sped through the city, running stop signs. The pursuit ended when the driver lost control and crashed into a driveway on West Beach Road.

The officer chased the driver, later identified as Rodriguez, as he fled on foot; the officer caught and arrested Rodriguez when he fell trying to jump a wood fence, the report states. An officer located stolen credit cards on the ground where Rodriguez was arrested.

Rodriguez told police that Pederson was in the car with him but ran away after the crash, a report states.

On Jan. 13, officers arrested Pederson after responding to a report of a suspicious person.

Oak Harbor Police Chief Kevin Dresker previously said all the stolen vehicles were recovered.

Prosecutors charged Rodriguez Jan. 15 with attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, taking a motor vehicle without permission and driving while his license was suspended.

Prosecutors charged Pederson Jan. 17 with two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle and two counts of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Under the standard sentencing range, Pederson could face up to a year and half in prison if convicted of the charge.

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