Man who made bomb claim after Highway 9 crash is charged

A competency evaluation has been ordered for a driver who claimed there was a bomb in his vehicle.

CLEARVIEW — Mental illness may have played a role in a Nov. 7 traffic jam on Highway 9 after a driver deliberately crashed head-on into an approaching truck and claimed to have a bomb in his car.

The man, 27, of Brier, is now charged with threats to bomb or injure property, a felony. He’d previously been charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving and hit-and-run for the same incident.

Witnesses said the man drove his Toyota across the centerline and headed the wrong direction down the highway. He rammed into a truck that moments earlier had been waiting at a light at 164th Street SE. Both vehicles sustained major damage, but nobody was seriously injured.

After the crash, the man reportedly jumped out of his car and told bystanders there was a bomb in his vehicle and that it would explode if the vehicle stopped traveling at least 50 mph, deputy prosecutor Julie Mohr said in documents filed Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

“He also shook someone’s hand saying he was proving that seatbelts save lives, and then he said he was high on speed,” Mohr wrote.

The man reportedly tried to run from the scene but was chased down by bystanders, who held him for authorities.

The bomb claim led to the highway being closed at the height of the evening commute. A bomb squad was called. No explosives were found.

The man reportedly just stared when advised of his rights and spoke about not having taken his medications for three days, court papers said.

“While being transported to jail the defendant also spoke about Russians listening to us through radio signals and that he had hacked into (the trooper’s) brain,” Mohr wrote.

Blood tests were taken the night of the incident to screen for drugs. Results are pending.

The man Tuesday remained locked up in the county jail in Everett, his bail set at $25,000. Prosecutors have asked the court to continue to enforce an order requiring him to undergo an evaluation to determine if he is competent to assist in his defense.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@herald Twitter: @snorthnews.

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