A Longview man faces several assault charges after a high-speed chase ended with K9 and police officers wrestling him to the ground in East County Wednesday.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office said it began just after 10:00 am Wednesday morning, Deputy Tracy Gay saw a Honda Civic parked in a remote area just off of Porter Creek Road near the fire station. A man standing outside the vehicle seemed in a hurry to leave once he saw the patrol car. Deputy Gay reported that the Honda left quickly, and failed to stop at the stop sign before it turned west onto US Route 12 toward Elma. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle on 12, but it accelerated to about 80-85 mph.
Elma Police Officers Kevin Tuggle and Steve Miller set up spike strips just south of the city limits, but the Honda maneuvered around both sets, almost striking Officer Tuggle at one point.
As the Honda turned east on Elma McCleary Road and continued toward McCleary, Shumate said officers learned that it was reported stolen out of Thurston County.
Once they reached the McCleary city limits with Deputy Gay and Officer Tuggle in pursuit, the car slowed down and entered the Rainbow Park Apartment Complex. It drove over a curb into a grass field before becoming high centered.
Shumate said the driver attempted to flee into the nearby wooded area but unfortunately for him, Deputy Gay is also the department’s K-9 officer. K9 Max caught up to the man quickly but he grabbed Max’s collar and tried to choke the dog. Deputy Gay and Officer Tuggle caught up to the suspect and tried to free Max as the suspect fought with all three of them. The 29-year-old from Longview was eventually taken into custody.
Believed to be under the influence of illegal drugs, the man had a felony warrant for his arrest. Shumate said he was taken to Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma for treatment of minor injuries, then booked into county jail for Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle, Assault 2nd degree (for attempting to hit Officer Tuggle with his vehicle), Harming a Police Dog, Resisting Arrest, Driving with a Suspended License, and Driving Under the Influence.
There was a female passenger in the suspect vehicle that also had felony warrants. She was arrested on those warrants and booked into the county jail. The vehicle was impounded and a search warrant is pending due to evidence of drug possession in the vehicle. The suspect vehicle ended up not being a signed stolen vehicle however it appears to have been taken from the Lakewood area without the owner’s knowledge. Investigators are continuing to look into this. The male and female are suspects of another stolen vehicle out of Thurston County and appear to have been involved in a pursuit earlier with Thurston County.
And finally, K9 Max, Deputy Gay, and Officer Tuggle did not sustain any injuries. They all did an exceptional job getting this suspect off of the streets.