Police arrested a 22-year-old man Saturday following an early-morning chase that saw the driver zig-zag around the Plateau, nearly crashing into a bystander along the way.
The suspect, driving a Honda Accord, eventually lost control and spun out, but not before dragging officers from several agencies along for a high-speed pursuit through Enumclaw and Buckley, according to a press release from Enumclaw Police Deparmtent.
While the suspect, his passenger and officers were all cleared of injuries at the scene, the chase could have proved deadly.
Police say the Accord rammed a police car at one point, and later on could have crashed into a parked bystander if an Enumclaw officer had not intervened by pushing the Accord away with his own patrol vehicle.
The west-bound driver heading toward downtown Enumclaw on SR 410 had been moving faster than 70 MPH in a 40 MPH zone that morning, Enumclaw PD said in a press release.
Enumclaw officers tried to stop the man just after 7:30 a.m., when his vehicle pulled into the drive-through of a McDonald’s near SR 410 and Watson Street. But the man fled from the drive-through south-bound on Watson Street.
Two Enumclaw officers gave chase as the vehicle turned east onto Warner Avenue and sped toward the cross traffic on 284th Street.
The pursuing officers disengaged, but the Accord sped over 284th onto a gravel road that provides the only access to a gated neighborhood behind the Enumclaw Expo Center. The vehicle drove through the closed gate.
Enumclaw officers caught up with the vehicle and saw a second person inside; fearing that the passenger could be a child, they once again disengaged and the vehicle sped back the way it came west-bound on Warner Avenue. (That passenger was actually an adult woman.)
A few minutes later, EPD learned from a witness that the Accord was in an apartment complex near Enumclaw High School. When officers arrived at the Warner Avenue and Leo Place address, the driver of the Accord sped through shrubs and a side yard back onto Warner Avenue, then intentionally rammed the rear of an EPD patrol vehicle, according to the department’s release.
The vehicle sped east-bound on Warner and then east-bound onto SR 410. As police pursued, the Accord made a u-turn at the Enumclaw Golf Course and started moving back west on SR 410.
EPD followed the Accord through Buckley, and the lead officer performed a PIT maneuver to slow down the vehicle as it approached SR 165. While temporarily disrupted, the driver of the Accord navigated through business parking lots to make it to Jefferson Avenue. The officer again tried a PIT maneuver on the Accord but was unsuccessful.
The Accord, however, then struck a parked car and lost control in a wet grassy area near Jefferson Avenue and SR 410. The driver then started driving straight toward a bystander on SR 410 who had pulled to the shoulder of the road, according to Enumclaw PD.
The other EPD officer in the pursuit, Josh Hong, saw the impending collision and “intentionally made contact” with the rear of the Accord using his patrol vehicle, successfully preventing the collision.
Had officer Hong not pushed the Accord away, it likely would have struck the bystander vehicle, Enumclaw PD Commander Tim Floyd said.
But the Accord once again started heading back toward Enumclaw. EPD officers disengaged, their vehicles too damaged to continue, and Washington State Patrol troopers and US Park Rangers took over the pursuit.
Driving along SR 410, the driver tried to pass another vehicle near 241st Avenue but lost control of the Accord. He spun out across the intersection of 241st and SR 410 and came to a stop on an embankment on the corner.
The driver was detained after “mildly resisting arrest” and the female passenger was taken into custody without incident, EPD said. Both of them, along with both Enumclaw officers, were cleared by medical aid at the scene.
The suspect admitted to stealing the Accord, which was originally in Tacoma, and switching its license plates with those he’d stolen from an Enumclaw vehicle, Floyd said. Floyd said the man also admitted to using drugs earlier in the day, so police obtained a search warrant to draw his blood for testing.
The suspect had a felony and misdemeanor warrant and was booked into the Enumclaw jail. His female passenger was questioned and released.
Floyd said Monday morning that EPD was still putting together recommendations for charges against the man.