CPPD INVOLVEMENT IN RECENT FATAL COLLISION
On 10/28/2023 at 23:22 hours, College Place Police Officers as well as other regional law enforcement agencies were advised by our dispatch center that officers from the Milton-Freewater Police Department (MFPD) were in pursuit (in accordance with Oregon state laws) with a vehicle driving recklessly at speeds near 100 miles per hour. MFPD had lost sight of the vehicle as it was headed into Washington State.
A short time later, a WSP Trooper located the vehicle, parked off Plaza Way and visually recognized the driver as 19-year-old, Yahir Melgoza of Walla Walla. At that time, it was reported that Melgoza was parked and standing out of the vehicle reaching into the trunk. Melgoza was a suspect in a recent shooting and currently under home monitoring.
Based on the pursuit with MFPD and recent events involving firearms, a College Place Police Department (CPPD) Officer was arriving in the area to assist the WSP Trooper. As the Trooper approached the suspect vehicle, Melgoza re-occupied the vehicle and fled at a high rate of speed. As Melgoza fled, he physically swerved in the direction of the arriving CPPD Officer, causing him to pull his vehicle to the side of the street to avoid a collision.
Officers lost sight of the vehicle as it fled the scene. Moments later, Officers attempted to catch up to a dark colored passenger car matching the description of Melgoza’s vehicle, headed northbound on S. 9th Avenue, before it was determined that it was not the correct vehicle.
Roughly 20 minutes later, a WWCSO Deputy located another dark colored Chevy Impala traveling at a high rate of speed westbound on Stateline Road from Beet Road. As the Deputy turned to initiate a traffic stop, the Deputy observed the vehicle appear to leave the roadway believing it may have been involved in a collision.
As the WWCSO Deputy arrived on scene, it was determined Melgoza’s vehicle had left the roadway and struck a power pole at a high rate of speed. Medics arrived on scene and began providing medical aid to Melgoza.
CPPD Officers assisted the WWCSO with Melgoza while at the hospital and during transport due to the ongoing investigation into Attempted Assault in the First Degree and Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence.
While at the hospital, Officers were notified that Melgoza passed away as a result of his injuries suffered in the vehicle collision.
No CPPD Officers or any other Washington State law enforcement officials were ever engaged in an active vehicular pursuit with Melgoza, nor was he ever placed into physical custody.