A patient stole a truck and drove off the grounds of Western State Hospital in Lakewood on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

A patient stole a truck and drove off the grounds of Western State Hospital in Lakewood on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Psychiatric hospital patient steals truck, drives off campus

A Western State Hospital staffer was injured before the escapee was found at a school library.

Associated Press

STEILACOOM — A Western State Hospital patient stole a delivery truck and drove off the grounds of the state’s largest psychiatric hospital Sunday, injuring a hospital staffer before being found at a school library, according to police and state officials.

“The patient got into the truck with the keys in it and drove the truck through a large gate and off the campus,” said Lt. Chris Lawler, a spokesperson for the Lakewood Police Department. The patient “didn’t try very hard to evade capture” and was located by the hospital’s security team before police officers arrived, he said.

The Seattle Times reported that the patient ended up at Steilacoom High School, where he was found in the school’s library and returned to Western, said Chris Wright, a spokesperson for the Department of Social and Health Services, which operates the hospital.

A hospital staffer was injured after falling off the truck and was hospitalized, Wright said.

It’s been five years since patients escaping from the state’s 857-bed hospital in Lakewood brought intense scrutiny to its security measures. Since then, the hospital has struggled with a lengthy list of safety and health lapses that resulted in losing federal certification — and $53 million a year in federal aid.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Inslee announced that Washington state is expanding its vaccine mandate to include all public, charter and private school teachers and staff, as well as those working at the state's colleges and universities. Inslee also expanded the statewide indoor mask mandate in place for non-vaccinated individuals to include those who are vaccinated. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Gov. Inslee asks feds for medical staffing help with COVID-19

The state also requested Department of Defense personnel “to assist with the current hospital crisis.”

Two combines harvest wheat, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, near Pullman, Wash. Across eastern Washington, a drought the National Weather Service classified as "exceptional" has devastated what is normally the fourth largest wheat crop in the nation. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
2021 a record-breaking drought year in parts of Washington

Wheat, lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes in the east side of the state have all suffered.

Two Makah Indian whalers stand atop the carcass of a dead gray whale in the harbor at Neah Bay on May 17, 1999. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Tribe wins major step toward resuming whaling off Washington

A judge has recommended that the Makah tribe once again be allowed to hunt gray whales.

Jury orders city of Roy to pay $3.26M to men shot by police

The verdict is one of the largest in Western Washington involving a nonfatal police shooting.

Former WA employee charged with stealing unemployment funds

Reyes De La Cruz, III, of Moses Lake is charged with defrauding the government of at least $360,000.

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

A sign directs motorists to a COVID-19 testing site, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in Tukwila, Wash., south of Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Eviction protections in Washington extended to Oct. 31

Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday the state’s eviction protections will be extended beyond Sept. 30.

In photo provided by the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture, an Asian Giant Hornet wearing a tracking device is shown Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 near Blaine, Wash. Scientists have discovered the first nest of so-called murder hornets in the United States and plan to wipe it out Saturday to protect native honeybees, officials in Washington state said Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Karla Salp/Washington Dept. of Agriculture via AP)
4th murder hornet nest destroyed in northwestern Washington

Another nest of Asian giant hornets found close to the Canada border has been destroyed.

King County workers get more time for COVID-19 vaccine

The agreement, which covers about 10,000 workers, gives some slack for those who have been hesitant.

Most Read