MARYSVILLE — A Centralia man was likely high on drugs when he allegedly stole a car Tuesday and led police on an 80-mile chase from Pierce County to Snohomish County, according to a Washington State Patrol report.
The suspect, 27, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail in Everett for investigation of eluding police, reckless driving, DUI and possession of a stolen vehicle.
According to trooper Rocky Oliphant, the suspect was southbound on the freeway in a truck when his tire blew out around 5:20 p.m. near the main gate of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He reportedly ran up to a stranger’s Toyota Prius, forced the driver out and sped off in the stolen car. A police report did not mention a suspected motive.
The suspect turned around and went north on I-5, according to a 911 caller.
A trooper saw the Toyota headed straight for him on the shoulder before it darted around and kept going.
Troopers and other law enforcement joined the chase. The Toyota reached speeds up to 110 mph and swerved in and out of traffic, nearly colliding with “several dozen” vehicles, court papers say. Around Lynnwood, the driver cut through an emergency turnaround to the southbound lanes of I-5. He reportedly drove the wrong way for about 20 miles.
“It was obvious the defendant had no regard for the safety of anyone on the roadway,” a trooper wrote.
A video shared by Breaking Skagit shows the Toyota zipping by a driver on the shoulder, going the opposite direction of freeway traffic.
Dash Cam Video via Sean Henderson pic.twitter.com/ioYSEcE1oU
— Breaking Skagit (@BreakingSkagit) May 19, 2021
“Incredible that this ended without injuries,” trooper Oliphant responded.
The suspect avoided one set of spike strips, but hit another laid out by Marysville police officers. They shredded the Toyota’s tires.
The driver crashed into a small truck on the freeway near 88th Street NE, within view of the Tulalip Resort Casino.
There were no reports of injuries.
The man tried to take the truck, but was arrested before he could gain access, according to a trooper’s report.
The suspect had a “thousand yard stare” and appeared unaware of his surroundings, court papers say. He was “extremely agitated” and resisted arrest, the trooper reported. It took four officers to detain him. A Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy put a hobble strap on his legs.
The suspect was taken to the Marysville jail to be assessed. He “was still extremely agitated, yelling, (talking) rapidly, and was sweating profusely,” the trooper wrote.
Medics administered ketamine, an anesthetic, to sedate the suspect, so they could safely take him to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, according to court papers.
The man did not smell of alcohol, but “based on the totality of the circumstances,” troopers believed he was under the influence and not safe to drive. They received a judge’s permission to get a sample of his blood.
Toxicology results are pending. Authorities could not confirm what drugs, if any, he had been using.
“It’s going to be quite a ways out before we know what was in his system,” Oliphant said.