Couple remains at large after morning chase

Vernon Johnson is wanted in three states. Myranda York is also sought by authorities.

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MILTON-FREEWATER - A Walla Walla couple who escaped authorities in Idaho earlier this month after a high-speed chase again escaped officers in another high-speed chase early Friday morning, officials said.

According to a Walla Walla County Sheriff's report, the 20-minute chase had the suspect's car swerving, knocking into objects, driving through fields and orchards, and, at one point, driving into and back out of an irrigation ditch.

The chase started around 1:10 a.m. when a deputy was called to investigate a separate incident at the 00 block of Valley Chapel Road.

Upon arriving, the deputy saw two vehicles leave the Valley Chapel Community Center parking lot, with the lead vehicle slowly gaining distance from the deputy.

The deputy passed the trailing car and closed ground on the gold 1994 Honda, which then ran a stop sign and sped off, starting a chase that would last 20 minutes and range from speeds of 25-80 mph.

It was unclear from the report who drove the vehicle, but deputies later determined that two of the occupants were Vernon Ray Johnson and Myranda Raenn York, who are wanted in connection with a high-speed chase on Feb. 4 that ended with the couple getting away on foot in a field just outside of Glenns Ferry, Idaho, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune and other news agencies.

Friday's chase continued down Valley Chapel Road and then east on Stateline Road, with numerous attempts to elude the deputy by driving through fields, orchards, residential driveways and agricultural lots, the report stated.

About 15 minutes into the chase, the driver crossed into Oregon, then lost control and crashed into an irrigation ditch near Triangle Road.

The driver then drove through the ditch and, when blocked by a roadway culvert, flew up the embankment, through the air, landed on the road and continued to speed away.

The chase continued on Highway 332 and ended shortly after at Sunnyside and Winesap roads, when the driver lost control and crashed into a stand of apple trees.

Johnson and York were seen running into the orchard in one direction; the other two occupants - Skyler Ian Glasby and Breanna Nicole Rutherford - ran off to another part of the orchard, Walla Walla County Undersheriff Edward Freyer said.

Deputies closed off the area and officers from the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office, Milton-Freewater Police Department and Oregon State Police joined Walla Walla County Sheriff's deputies in a search that lasted until 9:30 a.m.

Shortly after the crash, deputies conducted a spot check of the car and presumed it was empty, but then a howling noise was heard, officials said.

Deputies walked back to the car and found a brindled boxer puppy that had been hiding under the seat; the dog was unharmed.

The search continued through the rest of the night with no sign of the four suspects, but at 6 a.m., Rutherford turned herself in. Freyer said she was found walking on a road back toward the crashed site.

An hour later, Glasby was arrested without incident after a resident discovered him hiding in a trash can, according to a Umatilla County Sheriff's report.

Eight hours later the search for Johnson and York was called off.

Both were believed to have gotten through the containment, and the report said the couple may have stolen a white Honda Accord to escape.

The Accord was reported stolen out of College Place on Friday morning.

Johnson is currently wanted in Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Walla Walla police said he is wanted locally for escaping community custody, possession of dangerous drugs, eluding and possession of stolen property.

York is wanted for possession of stolen property, police said.

Glasby, 23, of 1116 S. Third St., Dayton, is a known gang member with convictions in Columbia County, according to officials.

He recently completed a two-month sentence in the Walla Walla County Jail after pleading guilty to criminal charges related to the passing of counterfeit $20 bills at area businesses in November.

He was apprehended Nov. 30 in Walla Walla after a 21-hour standoff with police at a mobile home in the 1800 block of Plaza Way.

Glasby was booked into Umatilla County Jail on investigation of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of methamphetamine and other charges.

Rutherford was booked into Umatilla County Jail on investigation of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and possession of methamphetamine.

The boxer puppy was taken into protective custody by the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office and will be cared for by local pet rescue volunteers.

A new permanent home cannot be given to the puppy right away because of ownership rights, but officials are considering filing animal neglect and abandonment charges.

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