High-speed chase through Oak Harbor ends with a crash

A 30-year-old Skagit County man caught smoking fentanyl in the Oak Harbor Walmart parking lot led police on a high-speed chase through residential neighborhoods, crashed his car through a Navy fence, suffered a cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the way to the hospital on June 13, according to court documents.

Prosecutors charged Jose Castaneda-Torres in Island County Superior Court June 16 with attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, reckless endangerment and DUI.

Superior Court Judge Christon Skinner set Castaneda-Torres’ bail at $10,000.

At 7:55 p.m. Tuesday, a caller at the Walmart reported to police that two people in a white Honda appeared to be using drugs. An Oak Harbor officer noted in his report that police are aware that the parking lot is a common place for people to abuse illegal substances.

Two officers who responded contacted the driver, later identified as Castaneda-Torres, and his passenger. The police report states that Castaneda-Torres had aluminum foil on his lap with multiple blue pills. The officer noted that blue pills sold on the streets commonly contain the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl; users heat the pills on foil and then inhale the smoke.

The officers decided to detain Castaneda-Torres for further investigation and opened the car door, but he started the car and sped away, nearly hitting the officer with the open door, an officer wrote in his report on the incident. Castaneda-Torres drove through the parking lot at a high rate of speed and onto Barrington Drive.

Castaneda-Torres drove through a red light at the intersection with Highway 20, nearly causing an accident, the officer wrote. The officers chased after him with lights and sirens activated.

Castaneda-Torres continued driving through residential streets in the southeast area of the city. He drove at speeds of more than 50 mph in 25 mph zones and went through multiple stop signs, the officer wrote. He eventually got on Highway 20 and headed north, going 75 mph in a 40 mph zone. He failed to stop at red lights at the intersection with Northeast Seventh Avenue and the intersection with Midway Boulevard, the report states. The officer noted that the car was “traveling in a continuous serpentine manner” and at times crossed the centerline.

The officer estimated that the car accelerated to about 80 mph in the north end of town. Near the new U-Haul facility, Castaneda-Torres tried to pass a few cars and drove on the dirt shoulder. The car lost traction and was propelled sideways across the highway, where it crashed through a fence on Navy property. The police took Castaneda-Torres and his passenger into custody without incident.

Both Castaneda-Torres and the passenger admitted to taking fentanyl and were taken to the hospital by ambulance, the report states. The passenger said she ate 10 to 15 blue pills during the pursuit.

Castaneda-Torres “coded” on the way to the hospital and was given Narcan. An officer obtained a warrant to draw Castaneda-Torres’ blood for testing related to driving under the influence. Castaneda-Torres spent the night in the hospital and was transported to the jail the next day.