Eluding defendant’s many cases bundled up for sentence to mental health assistance

Sunday, July 9, 2017 at 8:00 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 54-year-old rural Chehalis man who struck another vehicle during a lengthy high-speed police pursuit along U.S. Highway 12 at the east end of the county in May has been sentenced to the mental health alternatives program

James P. Sauter was contacted by police at least three times that month in Centralia, Chehalis and then finally when he turned his truck into a field and got it stuck on a log about 21 miles east of White Pass on May 25.

Callers to 911 reported the white Dodge pickup truck with emergency lights installed in its grill was traveling at a high rate of speed and forcing other drivers to pull off the road. Authorities said he had a silver badge pinned to his vest and a can of pepper spray in his pocket when he was apprehended.

Lewis County Prosecutor Will Halstead told a judge in Lewis County Superior Court on Friday he combined the charges with cases from municipal courts.

Halstead and defense attorney Jacob Clark entered into a plea agreement which Judge Joely O’Rourke accepted.

Sauter pleaded guilty to attempting to elude, hit and run attended, use of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Only the first count is a felony and it carried a standard sentencing range of two to five months in jail.

He had already spent about 49 days in jail and the lawyers asked the judge to suspend the rest of his time for two years with various conditions related to the mental health alternative program and allow him release on Friday.

Clark said he felt it was a resolution which would help keep both Sauter and the community safe.

He said his client would be taken directly to a short stay at a hospital diversion house. He said Sauter would be back in court for reviews, weekly at first.

For background, read “Driver with flashing grill lights, badge arrested after police chase” from Friday May 26, 2017, here

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One Response to “Eluding defendant’s many cases bundled up for sentence to mental health assistance”

  1. Mad momma says:

    Let’s hope this takes care of the problem

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