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Spokane police say five vehicles damaged, several officers injured in weekend pursuits

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 26, 2019

Spokane police ended a car chase by ramming the suspect’s vehicle on the South Hill on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (Spokane Police Department)
Spokane police ended a car chase by ramming the suspect’s vehicle on the South Hill on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (Spokane Police Department)

Spokane police say at least five patrol vehicles were damaged and several officers suffered minor injuries in a pair of car chases over the weekend.

The first chase began shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday when a car salesman called to report that a woman was refusing to stop or let him out of a vehicle during a test drive.

The salesman, who works for the Dave Smith Nissan dealership in Spokane Valley, gave officers the car’s location and stayed on the phone as they pursued the vehicle, according to court records. The driver was identified as 32-year-old Kasandra F. Ayala. Also in the car were Ayala’s husband or boyfriend and an 8-year-old girl.

The salesman told police that Ayala drove the 2016 Kia Optima from the dealership toward Sprague Avenue and Thierman Road, where she dropped off the girl. Then, the salesman said, Ayala began acting paranoid and he told her the test drive was over.

Instead of returning to the dealership, Ayala made a “hard left turn” onto Sprague Avenue and took the nearest ramp onto Interstate 90. According to court records, she told the salesman something to the effect of “Hope you’re ready to die today,” and “We’re going to Walla Walla.”

The salesman called his boss, who told him to call 911. According to court records, the salesman told Ayala to let him out of the car and she threatened to have her husband or boyfriend beat him up. She got off the freeway and stopped near Second Avenue and Freya Street. According to court records, the husband or boyfriend said something to the effect of “Babe, I don’t want any part of this. Let me out.”

He got out, while the salesman and Ayala waited in the car for a minute or two, according to court records. Then she turned up the music and drove west on Second. Officers caught up to them near Second and Division Street.

Police said a dispatcher heard Ayala in the background of the phone call, exclaiming that she knew the salesman was on the phone but that she would not pull over. She briefly stopped in a parking lot near Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center but avoided police vehicles and then drove away at high speeds on the South Hill.

Officers tried to block her in again on 14th Avenue near Latawah Street – a dead end – but she struck three patrol cars and continued driving. A patrol sergeant finally ended the pursuit by ramming the side of the fleeing car. The salesman got out and she was arrested. Officers reported she was high on methamphetamine and spoke of seeing demons.

Ayala and an officer suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital for evaluation. She was then booked into Spokane County Jail on charges of assault, kidapping, theft of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence.

In Spokane County Superior Court on Monday, Commissioner John Stine set her bond at $20,000 and expressed concern about her drug use and mental health. Stine said of the case, “I see a lot of weird stuff in this job, and this one ranks up there.”

The second chase began Sunday morning in Airway Heights. Spokane police said two officers were on a call near the western border of the city when an Airway Heights officer requested assistance.

Airway Heights police had just responded to the home of 51-year-old Paul J. Reinhardt, who allegedly had choked and beaten his girlfriend multiple times over four days.

According to court records, the couple woke up early and began drinking heavily Sunday morning; by the time officers arrived, he was gone and she had bruises on her head, chest and arms. Shaking and crying, she told officers he had strangled her until she nearly lost consciousness, and she feared he would come back to kill her.

Reinhardt returned, and when he drove past the house in his red Ford Focus, one of the Airway Heights officers began pursuing him.

Reinhardt revved his engine and sped away, leading officers onto I-90 and then southbound on U.S. Highway 195. Officers reported he reached speeds of more than 100 mph, driving through a construction zone, changing lanes erratically and swerving around several vehicles.

Police said he cornered himself near Meadowlane Road, in a gated community south of the city, and then tried to escape by reversing his car into two patrol vehicles. He was arrested after crashing into a grassy ditch. Officers said he resisted while being placed in handcuffs and then “continued to yell, scream and thrash his head around.” A state trooper found his blood-alcohol level was 0.22 – nearly three times the legal driving limit.

Reinhardt remained in jail Monday in lieu of a $20,000 bond. He faces charges of assault, malicious mischief, attempting to elude police and driving under the influence.

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