A baby is in the hospital and her mother is in jail after a prolonged incident starting with a morning car crash.
What followed was a brazen burglary, a police chase in Hood River, and arrest in White Salmon.
It began Friday when a vehicle hit a tree on Binns Hill Road, west of Hood River, at about 8:30 a.m.
A female suspect, Baylee Christopher of Hood River, ran from the car, her three-month-old girl in her arms, and entered a nearby home. Despite being confronted by the homeowner, Christopher allegedly grabbed the car keys and stole the resident’s car.
Arrested at the scene of the accident was the apparent driver, Jesse Holmes, 37. He was charged with multiple offenses including Driving Under the Influence, Reckless Endangerment and felony Assault in Third Degree because of injuries connected to the alleged DUII, according to Sheriff Matt English.
Holmes is in NORCOR in The Dalles and Christopher is housed at Klickitat County jail in Goldendale. Christopher has been charged with Burglary, Reckless Endangerment and Attempting to Elude.
Initially responding were Hood River Police and Hood River County Sheriff’s deputies, and an Oregon State Police trooper.
English said that because officers were already responding to the Binns Hill crash, they were nearby on Country Club as Christopher drove away at normal speed toward Hood River.
Police officers Emy Delancy and Erin Mason followed Christopher onto West Cascade and then Interstate 84, via exit 62, at speeds reaching about 80 miles an hour, said Don Cheli of Hood River Police.
When Christopher crossed into Washington via the Interstate Bridge, Delancy and Mason decided not to prusue her.
English and Klickitat County Undersheriff Mike Kallio confirmed that Christopher was tracked down and arrested at noon Friday at a friend’s home near Columbia High School, following investigation by White Salmon-Bingen police with help from Klickitat Sheriff’s deputies, Washington State Patrol and Washington Fish and Game officials.
Christopher and baby were transported to Skyline Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries and released for transport to Klickitat County Jail.
“We knew she had a baby in the car, and we had a tail on her, no lights, and we thought she was taking the baby to the hospital, then she took off and city picked her up on West Cascade,” English said.
“We didn’t know what the issue was; it was a rapidly evolving dynamic situation. What we did believe was the baby was in the car,” English said.
After Christopher’s arrest, the baby was transported to Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland with life-threatening injuries, according to English.
Asked the cause or extent of the baby’s injuries, English said, “It’s still under investigation.”
Kallio said the injuries were “assumed to be from the crash, but it’s still under investigation and we don’t know all the details. We lost contact with her for a couple of hours, and we don’t know all that could have happened after the crash.”
At the arrest scene, Christopher was allowed to get into an ambulance with her baby in her arms, but when it came to transporting her to the hospital, “we had to remove (the baby) from her grasp,” Kallio said.
“This was a case of great cooperation between many law enforcement agencies in the Gorge,” said Kallio.
“First we needed to find the baby, and get it the medical attention she needed, and then bring her mother into custody so she can take responsbility for what she did,” Kallio said.