Witnesses to fatal pursuit sought

INDEX — A driver who crashed and died while fleeing from police along U.S. 2 near Index on Monday night reportedly drove off the road in Monroe about 90 minutes earlier.

People had stopped to help the man and called 911 about 5 p.m. when he drove off, apparently drunk, according to new information released by police on Thursday.

Two Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies caught up with the man and pulled him over at 6:30 p.m. near Gold Bar. He gave them his identification and again drove off, leading to the pursuit.

The driver, Eric John Breum, 55, of Skykomish, then crossed the center line and struck another vehicle, causing a pile-up. He died at the scene. No other serious injuries were reported.

Detectives are urging any potential witnesses to come forward, including anyone who was on U.S. 2 east of Sultan about 6:30 p.m. Monday, said Aaron Snell, a spokesman for the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team, which is investigating.

Police now also say that about 90 minutes before the crash, Breum was approached by passersby because his pickup was found off the roadway near 153rd Street in Monroe.

“Residents approached and offered the suspect help,” Snell said. “He declined and drove away after getting his pickup back onto the roadway. The suspect appeared intoxicated, and residents called 911.”

It took awhile for deputies to locate the man and attempt to pull him over. The pursuit speeds have not yet been confirmed, Snell said Thursday.

Breum had seven prior DUI convictions and had spent time in state prison as a repeated DUI offender. He also had an alcohol-related crash on U.S. 2 in 2008.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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