Kennewick woman pleads innocent after leading Walla Walla deputies on long chase


WALLA WALLA -- A woman pleaded innocent this week in Walla Walla Superior Court to leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase for about 20 miles from Prescott to Walla Walla earlier this month.

Catherine J. Johnson, 61, of Kennewick, is set for trial April 3 on the charge of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Officials said the pursuit by a Walla Walla County sheriff's deputy began about 2:10 p.m. Jan. 12 when a red car allegedly driven by Johnson was seen heading west on state Route 124 through Prescott at about 90 mph.

After the 2009 Mitsubishi Galant turned south onto Highway 125, speeds reached 100 mph and, at one point, the vehicle left the highway, but re-entered, according to a sheriff's office report filed in court.

Meanwhile, a different deputy placed a spike strip at the highway and Harvey Shaw Road. The car reportedly hit the spikes, but the driver continued to travel on a rim and a tire fell off near the main gate of the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

The car started swerving, struck a curb and finally stopped near the intersection of Pine Street and North 13th Avenue.

Johnson -- who reportedly told authorities she didn't stop because she was "really sick" -- was booked into the Walla Walla County jail.

Officials confirmed that Johnson wasn't under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Bail later was set at $7,500, but Johnson was ordered released on her own recognizance Jan. 15 with conditions pending further court appearances.

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