Man threatens woman with a knife, then it becomes a high-speed chase in two cities, police say

A 38-year-old man is accused of leading police on a chase from Pasco into Kennewick, eventually ending after he drove through an elementary school playground.

Jonathan D. Morgan was arrested Sunday on suspicion of attempting to elude police, a felony.

On Monday, a Franklin County judge set bail at $25,000.

Morgan was told that if he posts bond while the case is pending, he can travel throughout Washington state for the sole purpose of going to and from legal proceedings in other counties, court documents show.

He also must have a driver’s license and insurance and meet other legal requirements before he can operate a vehicle, documents said.

It all started at 3:51 p.m. with a report of a man threatening a woman with a knife at the Exxon gas station/Jack in the Box restaurant on West Court Street, just west of Highway 395.

Pasco Officer Conrad Christenson was on his way to the businesses when dispatchers advised the suspect was leaving in a white truck.

The pickup was pulling out from the gas station as Christenson arrived, so he got behind it and activated his overhead lights, court documents said.

Two men and a woman were inside the truck.

Instead of stopping, the Ford F250 sped toward the highway from Court Street. Christenson followed, turning on his patrol car’s siren, documents said.

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Jonathan D. Morgan allegedly led Pasco police on a chase into Kennewick on Sunday afternoon. He drove through two fences and the Hawthorne Elementary School playground, before stopping at North Keller Street and West John Day Avenue, police said.

Officer Jeremy Jones joined in the pursuit at that point.

The truck, driven by Morgan, turned right onto North Yelm Street after going up the Highway 395 hill in Kennewick from the blue bridge.

Morgan then allegedly hit speeds of 60 mph in the 25 mph residential zone and drove through several stop signs without slowing down.

Jones tried a Pursuit Intervention Technique, or PIT maneuver, by hitting the side of the truck so the driver would lose control and stop. He was unsuccessful, court documents said.

The Ford drove through a fenced area onto the Hawthorne Elementary School playground, then through another fence, documents said.

Jones made another attempt at stopping the truck, and this time it worked.

Morgan and the two passengers were removed from the truck at North Keller Street and West John Day Avenue.

Morgan reportedly refused to give a statement to police, and was taken to the Franklin County jail.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.