TOPPENISH — A man whom authorities have been trying to arrest on a warrant since last September is finally in custody.
The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office arrested Michael Nathaniel Garza, 27, this past Saturday, July 6. His preliminary appearance for new charges of eluding, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm was July 8.
Deputies say Garza was driving a stolen vehicle just after 2 a.m. while leaving Legends Casino.
A deputy sighted the vehicle, ran a registration check that alerted him the car was reported stolen, and a second deputy on patrol arrived to assist him in conducting a traffic stop when a pursuit ensued.
The narrative submitted to Yakima County Superior Court said Garza led the deputies on a chase that exceeded 80 mph in a 55-mph zone before turning on to South Oldenway Road. That’s when he abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot.
A K-9 officer, units from the Washington State Patrol, Toppenish Police and Yakama Nation Police arrived to assist in searching for Garza, who once captured was properly identified.
“He is a convicted felon, registered sex offender, gang member and was wanted by the Department of Corrections,” Sgt. C. A. Gray of the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
He said Garza was wanted by the DOC for escaping community custody related to a robbery conviction, and a warrant was issued Sept. 17, 2018 for his arrest.
A loaded gun was found in a field Garza had run through, according to the court documents.
The K9 responsible for locating the man, who was bitten by the officer before being placed in handcuffs. Garza was treated for his injuries before being booked into Yakima County Jail.