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Vehicle tops 100 mph before crash

Sun., April 24, 2011

A high-speed attempt to elude police landed a Spokane man in a hospital early Saturday.

Michael Lawler, 28, who later admitted to drinking, led police on a chase about 3 a.m. that reached speeds of more than 100 mph, police said.

Spokane Valley police Cpl. Darin Staley saw a vehicle traveling on Broadway Avenue over the Interstate 90 overpass at about 80 mph, police said. The speed limit there is 35 mph.

The driver of the Volkswagen Passat, later identified as Lawler, ran a red light at the Fancher Way intersection, refused to pull over and continued to accelerate away from Staley, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph near the Spokane County fairgrounds, police said. Staley ended the pursuit due to the “severe recklessness” of the suspect’s driving, but shortly after, Lawler crashed and fled on foot.

A sheriff’s K-9 tracked him down a short time later as he hid about 200 yards from the scene of the crash.

Lawler’s passenger, April Smith, 23, also of Spokane, did not flee the scene. Both Lawler and Smith were taken to a hospital for minor injuries sustained in the crash and released.

Police said Lawler was exhibiting signs of being under the influence and a blood sample was taken. The state toxicology laboratory’s analysis of the sample will take six to eight weeks to complete.

Lawler likely will face charges of felony eluding and driving under the influence after the investigation is complete, according to a news release.

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