Chaotic, wrong-way, 100 mph I-5 chase ends with no injuries

The lengthy pursuit went from Arlington to Everett to Lynnwood. Sparks flew as the suspect drove on shredded tires.

EVERETT — An Everett man in a Mercedes Benz was arrested after a high-speed chase during which he allegedly drove the wrong way on I-5 for miles and nearly rammed a Snohomish County patrol car head-on, according to police reports filed in court Friday.

The pursuit on Thursday lasted about 24 minutes, from Arlington to Lynnwood. The Mercedes kept going even as rubber fell off the tires, leaving the suspect to drive on the rims and sending sparks flying on the freeway.

No one was hurt. Sheriff’s spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe credited that to the coordinated response between law enforcement agencies.

“It was a chaotic and quick moving situation,” she said. “… Having so many hands on deck definitely helped keep the community safe.”

Sheriff’s deputies first tried to stop the suspect around 11:30 p.m. in Arlington, near the roundabout at Highway 9 and 172nd Street NE. The man pulled over but didn’t stay long.

After looking up records for the suspect’s car, the deputy learned someone driving the same Mercedes had fled police in January, when a different deputy tried to stop the driver for an expired registration. So on Thursday, the deputy got out of his patrol car, then lingered a moment to see if the suspect would try something again, according to the sheriff’s office.

The suspect, 21, took off westbound on 172nd, according to the deputy’s report.

The deputy got back into his car and chased him. But he stopped the pursuit as he saw the suspect going 60 mph in a 35 mph zone and darting through traffic.

Near the 5100 block of 172nd Street NE, the suspect ran over spike strips set out by another deputy. Soon afterward, deputies saw him going the wrong way on northbound I-5, according to the deputy’s report. In response, Washington State Patrol troopers slowed drivers in the area.

The Mercedes was then seen going the correct direction on southbound I-5, reportedly swerving all over the road.

Another deputy tried to stop the car, but the driver accelerated and took off on Highway 529, going more than 100 mph toward Broadway in Everett.

According to court papers, the suspect sped through city streets, winding his way down Marine View Drive and back onto I-5, where he once again drove the wrong way, south in northbound lanes.

Throughout the chase, deputies had to end the pursuit multiple times, following the guidance of a department policy put in place to reduce the number of crashes. A State Patrol plane, nicknamed Smokey, helped keep eyes on the wild driver, who still drove over 100 mph while going the wrong way on I-5, even when no one was in pursuit.

At one point, the suspect drove on nothing but rims. WSDOT traffic camera footage, posted by KOMO News, showed bright flashes as sparks flew from the vehicle.

Around 164th Street SW, the suspect swerved from the carpool lane, across several lanes of traffic and directly at a deputy’s patrol car. The deputy swerved out of the way to avoid being struck head-on.

Sheriff’s deputies lost sight of car, but state troopers found it stopped nearby, south of 164th Street SW on I-5. The suspect had reportedly taken off running as deputies, troopers, officers and at least one police dog descended on the scene.

The State Patrol plane found a heat signature near the 17100 block of 18th Place W, where the dog was also headed. Deputies found the suspect there and arrested him.

The driver was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of second-degree assault, driving with a suspended license, attempt to elude law enforcement and reckless endangerment.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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