Court roundup: Kennewick man gets almost 5 years for high-speed chase

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldMarch 24, 2013 

A 31-year-old man who led police on a high-speed chase through Kennewick and Richland will spend four years and nine months in prison.

Roman Henry Estrada of Kennewick was sentenced in Benton County Superior Court for his earlier guilty pleas to second-degree taking a vehicle without permission, attempting to elude police and possession of a stolen vehicle.

The pursuit started around 9:30 a.m. Dec. 13 after a Kennewick officer spotted the car near Fourth Avenue and Kent Street.

The 1992 Honda Accord had been reported stolen two days prior from in front of the owner's West Fourth Avenue home.

After spotting the stolen car, officers tried to stop the Honda but Estrada, who was the driver, took off leading police on a chase through Kennewick down South Olympia Street and onto Highway 397, according to Kennewick police and court documents.

He drove up to 70 mph in the city limits, including through multiple school zones, and drove through red lights, onto a shoulder and on the wrong side of the road, while also almost hitting other cars, documents said.

Estrada eventually got onto Interstate 82, where Washington State Patrol troopers joined the chase as Estrada sped westbound toward Dallas Road. He exited the highway, then returned to I-82 and started going east, traveling up to 110 mph.

Estrada drove on the shoulder to avoid spike strips. That's when Trooper Ralph Morris was able to get close enough to spin the vehicle and end the chase near Badger Road.

The Honda stayed in the lanes of the highway as it spun. There was little damage to the Honda and the trooper's car.

Estrada and two teenage girls in the car were detained. A handgun, with a live round in the chamber, was found on the car's floor mat.

Police also recovered a master key for General Motors vehicles and a lanyard with worn Honda keys that reportedly can be used to start other Honda vehicles.

Estrada's history includes two counts of taking a vehicle without the owner's consent and one count each of first-degree robbery, attempting to elude police and possession of a controlled substance.

Whit Swan man gets almost 2 years in prison

A White Swan man who caught the attention of a trooper when the passing motorist failed to move over, and was stopped with a blood-alcohol level double the legal limit, is going to prison for one year and 10 months.

Thomas Owens Winnier, 34, was sentenced for felony driving under the influence, first-degree driving with a suspended or revoked license, a gross misdemeanor, and ignition interlock violation, a misdemeanor.

Winnier was arrested by Washington State Patrol troopers on Sept. 23 after a trooper on an unrelated traffic stop on Highway 240 saw Winnier's car pass by in the near lane without getting over. The trooper followed the car and saw it straddling the white line as it went through a roundabout, court documents said.

When the trooper stopped Winnier, he could smell an odor of alcohol in the car and from Winnier, documents said. Winnier also had a flushed face and watery and bloodshot eyes.

Winnier reportedly told troopers he was lost and was trying to get home after leaving a Kennewick tavern.

He told authorities he had a "couple" of drinks about an hour earlier. He failed the field sobriety tests and the preliminary breath test registered as 0.157 percent, almost double the 0.08 legal limit, court documents said.

Winnier in his plea document said his level was 0.16 percent.

He has a previous DUI conviction from Arizona in 2002, for which he was sentenced in 2005, and three DUIs in Washington in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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