Man sentenced to 4 years for chase

A Seattle man was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday for his part in a July police chase across much of Snohomish County that terrified shoppers, stopped rush-hour traffic and ended in gunfire.

Eric Merlan Johnson II, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree robbery and attempting to elude a police vehicle.

Numerous other charges are pending against a second man, Stewart Allan Compher, 31, of Everett, who also is accused in the late afternoon rampage. Compher faces decades in prison if he’s convicted of all the charges. He also was shot and wounded by police during the chase.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Cowsert sentenced Johnson to the maximum penalty. The sentence was agreed to by Joan Cavagnaro, chief deputy prosecutor, and defense attorney Thomas Cox of Mill Creek.

Johnson was charged with fewer crimes than Compher. He also has no prior criminal convictions.

The chase started in the Lake Stevens area, proceeded across the U.S. 2 trestle, stopped briefly at the Everett Mall and ended at the Fred Meyer store on 132nd Street SE near Mill Creek.

Along the route, two vehicles were stolen at gunpoint, suspects were chased through stores and shots were fired by police.

Johnson was captured at the Everett Mall after two men allegedly stole a car on the trestle and fled with police close behind. Prosecutors allege that Compher stole a pickup truck at the mall, and an officer fired a shot in the vehicle’s direction as it sped off.

Compher then allegedly continued to flee, leading police on another high-speed run to the Fred Meyer store.

After he ran out a back entrance, police fired at Compher and wounded him.

Besides a large number of police cars from various agencies, a Snohomish County sheriff’s helicopter was used by police to keep pace with the fleeing suspects, who caused numerous traffic accidents.

A multiagency police task force brought in to investigate the police shooting determined the officers had responded appropriately.

The officers “appear to have carried out their duties capably, professionally and lawfully” while trying to protect the public, said Mark Roe, a deputy prosecutor who reviewed the investigation.

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

HRT Rescue Technician Andy Toyota gives the thumbs-up to crew members in the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue helicopter shortly before takeoff during an interagency training session held by Northwest Regional Aviation on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at the Arlington Airport in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
From around state, authorities simulate ‘terrorist attack’ in Arlington

Teams from King County, Snohomish County and elsewhere converged for a multi-faceted scenario Thursday at the Arlington Municipal Airport.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

5 Snohomish County sisters accused of $1M fraud scheme

For two years, the women used online return postage to get gift cards, then returning the physical items to a brick-and-mortar store, charges say.

FILE — Michael Whitaker, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, testifies before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Feb. 6, 2024. Whitaker told a Senate panel, on Thursday, June 13, 2024, that changes are being made to the agency’s oversight of Boeing, including conducting more safety inspections. (Anna Rose Layden/The New York Times)
Boeing discloses new quality problem on 787 Dreamliner jets

The issue affects jets built in South Carolina that have yet to be delivered, the company said in a statement.

Alvin Cooper (Photo provided by Marysville School District)
After allegations, Marysville schools’ HR director resigns

Last week, the district’s finance director Lisa Gonzales publicly called for the school board to put Alvin Cooper on leave, citing mismanagement.

Leslie Davis, left, and Lyndsay Lamb, twin sister stars of HGTV's "Unsellable Houses" and 2004 Snohomish High School graduates, donated a private design session to the school's auction fundraiser for their 20-year reunion. (Photo provided)
Got $2,000? Bid on face time with HGTV’s ‘Unsellable Houses’ twins

The sisters are offering up themselves in a fundraiser for their Class of 2004 Snohomish High 20-year reunion.

Fake gun sends Cascade High School into lockdown

Police detained a suspect with a fake weapon around 12:30 p.m. The lockout was lifted before 1:30 p.m.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.