Long pursuit ends at JBLM

ckrotzer@theolympian.comFebruary 7, 2013 

A man on probation was arrested Tuesday night after leading deputies on a two-county pursuit in a stolen car that ended at the gates of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The pursuit started in the Nisqually Basin after a Thurston County Sheriff’s deputy noticed the driver of a Lincoln MXK SUV acting suspicious.

The deputy was working on reports near Nisqually Park Drive and Sixth Avenue Southeast when the SUV slowed down, then sped off, according to Lt Greg Elwin.

The deputy started following the SUV, which ran a stop sign and took off down Old Pacific Highway.

“The vehicle was making jerky movements as it drove, but the windows were so dark, the deputy couldn’t see what was going on inside the car.”

The pursuit was headed toward Pierce County when the deputy saw a hand come out of the sunroof and throw something into the Nisqually River.

The deputy aimed a spotlight on the sunroof and saw the hand come out again, this time holding a sandwich bag “filled with something white,” Elwin said.

“The packet sailed over the patrol car, and clearly was not an empty white bag,” Elwin said.

The SUV sped up to 80 mph approaching Mounts Road and continued north onto Interstate 5, going more than 100 mph and swerving in and out of traffic.

The deputy followed the SUV as it swerved to take Exit 119 toward the JBLM gate.

“The vehicle turned right into JBLM, and the gate guards lifted the gate and waved the suspect through,” Elwin said.

The SUV stopped inside the gate, and the deputy was about to approach when the driver made a U-turn toward the guard shack, Elwin said.

The deputy was able to get the driver, a 46-year-old transient, out of the car without incident. The man was the only person in the car.

“The man told the deputy he was on military property and requested federal asylum,” Elwin said. “He said he only wanted to speak with a federal officer and be taken before a federal magistrate.”

The deputy found out the SUV was reported stolen out of Lacey on Monday. The 46-year-old was booked into Thurston County Jail, accused of eluding a police officer and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Elwin said the man was on probation with the Department of Corrections and has a suspended driver’s license.

The deputy went back to the area near the river to try to find the plastic bag thrown out of the SUV during the chase, but was unable to find it.

“When the owner (of the SUV) arrived at the car he identified a few bags in the back of the stolen cars that were not his and a Baggie of marijuana that was not his in the center console,” Elwin said.

Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 ckrotzer@theolympian.com theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer

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