Officers recovering after pursuit ends in pile of police cars

EVERETT — Police cars caromed off each other in the dark early today when a high-speed pursuit by Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies ended in injuries for four law enforcement officers in downtown Everett.

The mishap involved four police cars and blocked the intersection of Broadway and Hewitt Avenue for hours, snarling traffic and forcing commuters onto alternate routes.

Two Everett police officers and two Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies were injured in separate crashes that occurred within seconds along Broadway just before 3 a.m., Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.

One of the crashes sent a patrol car spinning into an Everett officer, who was standing outside his vehicle, which was parked near a sheriff’s patrol car. They were just below the crest of the hill where Broadway crosses the railroad tracks north of the intersection with Hewitt Avenue. The officer was the most seriously injured, receiving two broken wrists and a broken knee, Goetz said.

The deputy believed to have caused the crash, 26, was not in pursuit but was rushing to help apprehend the suspect, Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said.

It all began at about 2:20 a.m. when a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull over a man who was at the wheel of a stolen car south of Everett in the 3500 block of 132nd Street SE. The chase was on, and it headed north, with deputies pursuing the suspect into Everett, Goetz said.

The pursuit wound through parts of the city. Everett officers were not involved in the chase, but had converged on the downtown area to help provide containment, Goetz said.

The stolen car crashed along Broadway after the vehicle ran over spike strips that deflated a tire and forced the driver to lose control. When the car stopped, the suspect attempted to run away.

A sheriff’s deputy and an Everett officer had stopped their patrol cars along Broadway just north of Hewitt Avenue. A deputy driving another patrol car slammed his patrol car into those vehicles with enough force to send them spinning, Goetz said.

“The sheriff’s office vehicle that was stopped in the roadway appears to have been spinning around and ended up striking our officer, who was out of his vehicle,” Goetz said.

Meanwhile, another Everett officer was injured when he converged on the scene and saw the collision between the other police cars unfolding before him. Heading north on Broadway, he turned hard right to avoid the crash and struck a concrete planter box at the northeast corner of the intersection.

That officer received a couple broken fingers in the crash, Goetz said.

The deputies had bumps and bruises and were treated and released this morning, Hover said. The 26-year-old deputy has been with the department for more than three years. The other deputy involved, 47, has more than a decade of experience.

The Everett officer who received the broken bones to three of his four limbs remained hospitalized this morning, Goetz said.

The suspect was arrested after a brief foot chase.

Goetz identified the man as Andrew Wayne Holden, 32, of Snohomish. Lynnwood police last week issued an alert on the convicted felon, who was wanted on a Department of Corrections escape warrant.

Holden was the focus of three probable cause arrest warrants for auto theft before this morning. The man is known as a prolific car thief, and has been the focus on an ongoing investigation by the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force, Goetz said.

Holden was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on the warrant and for investigation of possession of a stolen vehicle, eluding police and resisting arrest. He’s scheduled to go before a judge Thursday.

Holden has an extensive criminal history including prior conviction for possession of stolen vehicles and property, state Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said. He’s spent time in prison and a warrant was issued after Holden failed to check in with both his parole officer and his drug treatment counselor.

Traffic along Broadway during the morning commute was rerouted this morning while police investigated the crash scene. Community Transit also made service adjustments because of the police activity.

The sheriff’s office launched two investigations into the incident, Hover said. Commanders will carefully examine their pursuit policy and collision policy, she said.

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