Man charged after police chase through Lynnwood, Edmonds

LYNNWOOD — A longtime criminal repeatedly stomped on the brakes and used other tactics allegedly trying to make pursuing police cars crash during a chase in south Snohomish County last month, prosecutors say.

Thomas Wayne Gibler, 45, was at the wheel of a stolen Honda outfitted with a license plate stolen from another vehicle when Lynnwood police attempted to pull him over Sept. 18, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Nathan Sugg said in court papers.

Instead, Gibler allegedly sped away, blasting through red lights and reaching speeds of up 65 mph along a route winding through Lynnwood and Edmonds, according to charging papers filed last week in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Gibler tried to force police cars into oncoming traffic and he engaged in “brake checking,” to make officers fear they’d crash into him from behind, Sugg wrote.

Officers terminated the pursuit when it was clear the fleeing vehicle was putting others at risk. The driver still crashed into another vehicle and attempted to run away.

Police spotted Gibler trying to hide behind a parked car and arrested him at gunpoint, court papers said.

Gibler’s now charged with attempting to elude police and possession of a stolen vehicle, both felonies. He hasn’t been charged for the suspected methamphetamine found in the vehicle. Police got a search warrant to perform blood tests because they believed Gibler was under the influence of controlled substances at the time of the chase, Sugg noted.

Gibler already has 17 felonies and 55 misdemeanor convictions, a criminal career that began in the 1980s and broken up mostly by stints in jails and prison, according to court papers.

He’s yet to “strike out” under the state’s persistent offender law because most of his crimes haven’t been violent, but instead involved drugs and stolen property.

When arrested after the car chase, Gibler claimed he’d sped away because a passenger in the car had him at gunpoint, court papers say.

Gibler is a former boyfriend of Shawna Forde of Everett, the convicted felon founder of a border-watch group that called itself Minutemen American Defense. Forde now is on Arizona’s death row for a 2009 home invasion robbery that ended in the deaths of an Arizona man and his 9-year-old daughter.

Forde left Everett while police were investigating her potential involvement in the 2008 attempted murder of her ex-husband, who was divorcing her at the time. The shooting victim later said Gibler appeared to be the person who ambushed him in his home, leaving him near death from gunshot wounds. Everett detectives were unable to develop sufficient evidence for charges, and Gibler, through attorneys, repeatedly has denied involvement in the attack.

Gibler has pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the September police chase.

According to court papers, the cops keyed in on the car because its plate matched that of a vehicle that had been involved the night before in a theft at the Lynnwood Recreation Center. That license plate, and the green Honda it was attached to, both had been reported stolen.

Gibler was being held Thursday at the county jail in Everett, his bail set at $100,000.

Sugg asked for the high bail, in part because Gibler has past convictions in police chases, and also based on his criminal history, “which indicates 96 prior warrants have been issued for his arrest.”

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