A 32-year-old driver is sitting in the Yakima County jail today after crashing a stolen vehicle into a minivan and injuring two kids and a Yakima Police officer. Authorities saw the stolen vehicle at about 9:45 am Thursday in the area of South First Street and East Walnut.
An officer followed the vehicle as it turned eastbound on Walnut then drove through a parking lot on south Third Street. The driver then drove on East Chestnut and crashed into a minivan at the intersection of South Naches Avenue and East Walnut Street. The crash also involved a Yakima Police Department patrol vehicle. An officer in the patrol vehicle was injured but the injuries were not serious.
The suspect was arrested after a foot chase.
Two kids were also injured in the minivan. A 5-year-old boy had minor injuries but a 2-year-old girl was injured and taken to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. We do not know the extent of her injuries. The driver of the minivan had only minor injuries.
The crash is now under investigation by the Washington State Patrol.
Every year as we start Spring and Fall Yakima Police see a rash of auto thefts. An average of 500 to 700 vehicles are stolen each year within city limits and with a lack of a traffic unit the department has no ongoing emphasis patrols that look for stolen and or speeding vehicles. Many of the vehicle are stolen after thieves find the vehicles idling, or warming up on a city street. Authorities say it's illegal to leave your vehicle running on a city street. It is legal to leave a vehicle running on your own property or driveway.Authorities say if you like to warm up your vehicle get yourself an extra set of keys so you can lock the doors. You can also purchase a remote starter that will allow you to start your locked vehicle while inside your home or work.
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