A 26-year-old Rainier man's black Honda pickup sailed airborne Tuesday night for about 50 feet after crashing into a rocky embankment during a police chase in Yelm. It then plunged nose-first into a canal near the Pierce County line, according to a Thurston County sheriff's spokesman.
The driver of the pickup, Trent Keena, 26, of Rainier, swam away from a pursuing sheriff’s deputy as his car sank, yelling “I can’t go back to jail, I can’t go back to jail,” court papers state.
Keena had been arrested the night before by the Washington State Patrol on U.S. Highway 101 on suspicion of driving with a suspended license, according to Thurston County Jail records.
After Keena’s Honda nose-dived into the canal, he swam across to its opposite side, entering a wooded area, sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said Wednesday. Keena was later apprehended by sheriff’s deputies, hiding in a yard off state Route 507, according to court papers.
Elwin said Keena was extremely lucky he wasn’t seriously hurt in the wreck. “He’s got to be hurting for certain today,” Elwin said.
Elwin said the proper name for the 25-foot-wide canal Keena drove into is the Centralia City Light Canal. Its waters were lowered by the utility Wednesday so members of the sheriff’s dive team could fish out Keena’s submerged Honda, he said.
Keena was being held at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of attempting to elude a police vehicle and driving with a suspended license. His bail was set at $25,000.
'RECOGNIZED BY SIGHT'
According to court papers:
Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputy Malcolm McIver was on patrol on Grove Road in Yelm after 6 p.m. Tuesday when he noticed a black Honda pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone, then speed by him in the opposite direction.
McIver recognized Keena by sight, and “has arrested Keena in the past.” Keena pulled over for McIver, then “put his vehicle into gear, pulled a U-turn and took off at a high rate of speed,” after McIver got out of his patrol car and approached the Honda.
The chase continued along Route 507, then to Old McKenna Road and Vail Road. Keena “continued driving recklessly, passing several vehicles in a no-passing zone near the Walmart with a high volume of traffic in the area,” during the chase. The Honda reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.
Deputy McIver contacted numerous drivers whose vehicles were nearly struck by the Honda during the chase, and they “thought they were going to be seriously injured,” the report says.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 email@example.com