By Rikki King Herald Writer
EVERETT — An attempted carjacking suspect who sparked a manhunt in Everett on Monday night is a veteran car thief and 17-time felon, court papers show.
William “Willie” Joseph Westmoreland, 38, of Stanwood, already was wanted on warrants for his arrest before Monday’s night’s events, court papers show.
He also has more than a half-dozen aliases and is an admitted drug user. He was on the lam less than 24 hours before being arrested by Seattle police.
Police allege that Westmoreland crashed a stolen motorcycle on I-5 in Everett on Monday and then tried to carjack a vehicle with two children inside. The woman driving the car fought him off, and he ran away. Investigators believe he may have stolen another car in the area to get away.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Westmoreland was in Seattle police custody and being checked over at a hospital, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear if he would be booked into the King or Snohomish county jail.
The Washington State Patrol, the Everett Police Department and the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force are investigating, trooper Mark Francis said Tuesday.
Around the time Westmoreland vanished in Everett, a Mazda Miata was stolen in the area.
“We are investigating to determine if the cases are related,” Everett police officer Aaron Snell said.
Westmoreland was linked to Monday’s trouble after his identification reportedly was found at the crash scene. His lengthy criminal history features car thefts, dealing in stolen property and eluding police. His first felony conviction came shortly after his 14th birthday, for stealing a car.
He also has 37 misdemeanors, most of them for driving- and drug-related offenses.
Westmoreland was charged in March with possessing a stolen car. Police reportedly found the car after they were called to a Lynnwood hotel room where Westmoreland was causing problems for staff.
Officers found methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in Westmoreland’s pocket. There also was a shaved key in the car, and a tool used to break car windows.
Westmoreland missed a court hearing in that case earlier this year and an arrest warrant was issued. His second warrant was for failing to pay court fines.
In 2002, he was in court for trying to outrun troopers on a stolen motorcycle near Smokey Point. He allegedly reached speeds of 110 mph, before stopping the bike, jumping off and running into the woods.
He was found hiding there, caked in mud and debris, wearing one shoe.
At the time, he reportedly told troopers he couldn’t be their suspect because he didn’t know how to ride a motorcycle.
He said he was “just tweaking in the forest,” and that he was using “crank” and had been awake for two or three days.
He said he had been sleeping in the woods and “woke up to a (police) dog chewing on me,” court papers show.
Westmoreland also has crashed stolen cars while fleeing from police in 1995, 1997 and 1998.
He grew up in Seattle, and most of his convictions were in King and Snohomish county courts. At times, he has owed the courts more than six figures, records show.
He is described in court papers as homeless, using his grandparents’ address near Stanwood for mail.
Westmoreland has served several stints in state prisons, most recently ending in 2004.
Reporter Diana Hefley contributed to this story.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.