Update: West Seattle chase, arrest after 4 police cars hit

July 8, 2012 at 8:56 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle police, WS breaking news | 53 Comments

(Photos by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
FIRST REPORT, 8:56 AM: Thanks for all the tips! We are working on info right now- it apparently started in Alki and ended by the bridge. No injuries reported but witnesses say it was quite a sight.

(Police with suspect’s vehicle at north end of Delridge)
9:14 AM UPDATE: The chase ended on the north end of Delridge by the west end of the low bridge, where there’s still a sizable police presence, as there is on 56th in Alki. Police by the low bridge say it started with an attempted stop for aggressive driving. Via e-mail, Jennifer tells us what she saw where it ended:

At approximately 8:20ish this morning, my husband and I witnessed an attempted police barricade at the intersection of Harbor and Spokane. At least 6 police cars attempted to block the intersection with their cars and portable “tire shredders” (I don’t know what they’re really called.) Shotguns drawn, the officers watched as a bluish-gray SUV came tearing up to the intersection and upon seeing the barricade tore through the dirt parking lot on the NW corner. After fishtailing several times in the dirt, he turned and fled down the left-hand lane of WSB on-ramp at what appeared to be a sedate 35-40 mph with a long line of officers in tow (strongly reminiscent of the OJ chase). We lost our visual at this time.

9:31 AM UPDATE: The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad – which investigates major crashes – is going to handle both cases, which means traffic implications at both scenes; 56th SW is blocked off south of Alki, which is where we are right now. Officers at the Alki scene say they believe at least 5 cars were hit by the suspect.

10:24 AM UPDATE: At the other scene, we have gone back to confirm, the main traffic impact is that you can’t turn onto southbound Delridge from eastbound Spokane St. under the bridge. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen was there and gave us the newest information: It all started at Don Armeni – where the driver, he says, was behaving aggressively toward patrol cars in the area and driving erratically. At first they followed him west along Harbor/Alki to try to stop him – he rammed officers’ cars in the 56th/Alki vicinity mentioned earlier, and then the pursuit headed back east on Alki, to Harbor, under the bridge, and finally ended when they boxed him in at the north end of Delridge (photo above). Capt. Paulsen confirms no one was hurt and says the suspect is being held for investigation of vehicular assault.

2:34 PM UPDATE: Lots of new details in a lengthy update just published on SPD Blotter. Police say the suspect is a 37-year-old West Seattle resident who was “arrested and booked for hit and run” recently; their account doesn’t offer additional details but we’re doing research now to seek more information on that. The SPD report also says 4 police cars were hit – the one we photographed (top of story) was a lieutenant’s car, they say, and the other three were hit just before police stopped him on Delridge south of Spokane.

7:11 PM UPDATE: The suspect was booked into jail this afternoon. Jail records show he was arrested the morning of July 5th – last Thursday – for hit and run and reckless driving, and was released on Friday afternoon. Those charges are in Seattle Municipal Court, where he also has a history of charges including, in the past three years, domestic-violence assault, violation of a domestic-violence court order, speeding in a school-crosswalk zone.

53 Comments

  1. the criminal was going SOoo fast. Had anyone been on a crosswalk by the water taxi or turning left by that 7 eleven …they could have been squashed and killed.

    Comment by alki jj — 9:11 am July 8, 2012 #

  2. I hate when this happens, they speed by so fast it’s scary. What happens if someone is in one of those crosswalks? Sometimes getting the plate is more worth it.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 9:16 am July 8, 2012 #

  3. Alki Res, I suspect your comment came in before the additional info I just added. The suspect had rammed police cars somewhere along the way, SPD says. We’ll find out more in the hours ahead but that could signal more danger to people ahead than the police in pursuit. We’re at the second scene now and working to find out more. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:19 am July 8, 2012 #

  4. Any idea of what happend on the bridge last night? Around 10:45pm there were 4 police cars parked on the west bound far right lane (harbor exit?) with their lights on….

    Comment by Westgirl — 9:29 am July 8, 2012 #

  5. That’s an early start for the crazy’s today. Wow. Wonder what they would be running for. Drugs, guns, other? Very odd at this time in the morning.

    Comment by Mike — 9:32 am July 8, 2012 #

  6. Im near where the chase began,although still asleep, I heard the police speed by but didn’t know there was a chase. Can’t wait to hear the rest of story and if this is a local guy. Either way, Im looking forward to moving out of this area soon.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 9:36 am July 8, 2012 #

  7. I rode my bike early this morning to avoid the summer alki CrAZy and just missed this. Insane Stupid careless behavior by that driver. Put them away for a long spell.

    Comment by Babs — 9:40 am July 8, 2012 #

  8. Again-a very scary West Seattle/Alki incident.

    I value and honor the work of our uniformed officer’s.
    The amount of laws and rules in our country seem to create more anxiety-maybe less ‘rules’ anmd more strict enforcement of the bigger issues- corrupt government, murder, rape, child abuse, drunk driving, guns….?
    We are so hung up on small stuff and the really big issues go unpunished…stop it at the bigger issue level and the smaller issues will not be as prevalent. If the mainstream people see the BIG issues/people in charge getting laws enforced/punishment, they will thing twice about possible/planned crimes.
    When traveling to Europe or even Canada the presence of officers feels like a safer environment than here in the states-because here it usually means there’s an anticipated problem and overall angst.
    On the evening of the 4th of July, driving Alki-which is ridiculous in itself (I had to take someone home) there was not a single police car the entire length of Harbor avenue-now had that been Europe or Canada there would have been stationed officers to keep riff raff down all along the way. There is a very concentrated population of officers on Alki near the businesses-but the ruckus and crazy behaviors on Harbor ave were obnoxious.
    Where do we put our money?
    Not in providing safety, but in placing more ‘laws’
    Just my opinion-
    I think our government is so upside down and the people don’t feel empowered here to take it back-so we complain about the issues rather than ‘storm the castle’ and put the power back to the people. We can do it-we just have to stop being afraid to challenge the ‘powers that be’
    I will stop there, because I am way off topic-but these kinds of incidents don’t just ‘happen’ they have a history and a life of their own-and what is that history?

    Thank you WS Blog for reporting this story.

    Comment by joey — 9:47 am July 8, 2012 #

  9. I would hope that a responsible pedestrian would look before walking into the street. I never, EVER just go until everyone has stopped. Right of way doesn’t mean you won’t be hurt!

    I’m glad none of my plans today include those areas! Crazy day out there already!

    Comment by jedifarfy — 9:48 am July 8, 2012 #

  10. Ah, that explains the squad car with lights flashing and racing west on Charlestown Street earlier this morning. Thanks WSB!

    Comment by Paula T — 9:55 am July 8, 2012 #

  11. Nice book Joey!

    Comment by marty — 10:25 am July 8, 2012 #

  12. Are you that paranoid to move out of the area because of a crazy driver? I’ve noticed there are a lot of paranoyas living in Seattle. I would love to live on Alki if I could afford to live down there again. Granted, times have changed, but it would take me much, much, more than a stupid driver to force me to move.

    Comment by Jiggers — 10:31 am July 8, 2012 #

  13. It looks like the suspect’s a darker SUV. There was a similar vehicle flying down Delridge yesterday afternoon around 2:15 pm. I could tell they were speeding even though I was sitting in my fenced yard. I would have called the cops, but only could describe a darker SUV heading north.
    My boyfriend was driving home from work at that time and saw the car speed by, dodging in and out of the turn lane. He said the SUV was driving “like they just robbed a bank.” Luckily a cop also saw him and flipped a u turn with lights on.
    I wonder if this is the same SUV?

    Comment by DelridgeResident — 10:33 am July 8, 2012 #

  14. I was in my car on Spokane and Harbor 30 seconds before the guy in the Escalade went mobbing by. An officer told me to stay put so I whipped out my phone and took a short video of it – not that exciting but the driver made a nice maneuver through that gravel to evade the police before he turned left under the bride down to spokane. Glad no one was injured.

    Comment by Charlie — 10:54 am July 8, 2012 #

  15. We were running on Alki during all of this. Was crazy!! A couple of the officers stopped 2 of the ladies in our group to inquire if they had seen the car. I absolutely LOVE Alki and usually the morning time is the best time to be on the beach! Bummed that this happened during the usual fun/ quiet times on our beach!

    Comment by Athena — 10:54 am July 8, 2012 #

  16. @Joey- We walked home from Anchor Park towards the restaurants after the fireworks show and someone in a car blasted us with a row of firecrackers,narrowly missing my nieces baby in the stroller. We kept looking around for a cop and to no avail,nor could we get a plate on time because it was too dark in that area. All the way home, we saw no police which was a little alarming.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 10:59 am July 8, 2012 #

  17. Wow…. Joey is our new resident expert on many things, and even some advice on which European law enforcement techniques could be taught to Seattle’s finest! Gee. If only we had more people like this in charge, none of these things would happen.

    Comment by NotMe — 11:03 am July 8, 2012 #

  18. Charlie – did you upload that anywhere? Interested in that if it might add to the coverage. or consider sending to editor@westseattleblog.com … TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:05 am July 8, 2012 #

  19. Went down to beach last night around 8:30 for a walk and encountered same suv in the alley between 56th & 55th he was pulling out from behind the 5 plex (56th side middle of block) and we had to get out of his way or be hit. Lock him up before he kills someone.

    Comment by wetone — 11:16 am July 8, 2012 #

  20. I saw this young kid (looked about 16 or 17) fly by at an unbelievable speed this morning. I live on Alki and heard the car before I saw it. Shortly behind him came about 4 police cars trailing him.
    If anyone had been in the crosswalks no one could have gotten out quick enough to save themselves.
    What in the world was this young kid thinking and how terrifying to think of the lives he could have taken.
    I have my grandchild here visiting occasionally and so often see kids and motorbikes racing down the beach. We need more presence and more attention to the Alki Beach road…scary. Has anyone thought how even more dangerous this would have been Sat. with the crowd for the pirates?
    LMc

    Comment by Laurie — 11:17 am July 8, 2012 #

  21. I saw two younger kids on bikes almost hit by a car this morning while crossing a street off California Ave. Thankfully the suspect in this story didn’t cross paths with any kids. Hopefully no one was hurt by the initial crime, whatever it was the suspect was running from.

    Comment by evergreen — 11:26 am July 8, 2012 #

  22. This morning we passed a car w/ a smashed rear-end in the “lemon lot” on Admiral (the hill b/t the bridge and Olga) – any idea if this was a victim of that driver?

    Comment by CraigH — 11:33 am July 8, 2012 #

  23. There is a totaled car parked on Admiral Way, east side of the street before you get to the viewpoint. It was not a totaled car last night. There must have been more than one vehicle filled with bozos out and about.

    Comment by Gina — 11:40 am July 8, 2012 #

  24. Joey-Alki Resident-just how many police officers should there be?? We are not the only neighborhood in the city-especially on the 4th-I think SPD probably had every possible officer on duty.Did you notice the traffic on the 4th?? We were at a friends place on Harbor Ave & watched the traffic mess-police may have been crawling just like everyone else. They sure as heck can’t be everywhere at once..down at Alki-up at Hamilton-Delridge-in the neighborhoods. Maybe we should pay more taxes so the city has revenue to hire more officers? I don’t know-but I think SPD does the best they can with the manpower they have.

    Comment by Anne — 11:56 am July 8, 2012 #

  25. I was rear ended and then pushed down the SR99 off ramp next to the stadiums Thursday morning by an escalade that matches the description of this one. The police at the scene of this incident would not verify the licence plate for me to see if it was the same one.

    Comment by Ryan — 12:06 pm July 8, 2012 #

  26. Sorry, someone’s got to say it: super-tiny tires on a big SUV has got to be the dumbest, most ironic trend, and one that will doubtless appear as cheesy and pointless as bellbottom pants in about 5 years.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 12:12 pm July 8, 2012 #

  27. I don’t take my kids to Alki in the summer.

    Comment by BMC — 12:28 pm July 8, 2012 #

  28. Saw this suv on Friday and Saturday… Cruising back and forth, revving his engine, etc… Friday he was alone, yesterday he had a passenger. Typical crap. Maybe it’s time to enforce the no cruising law?? I live on the corner of 56th and alki, so I get to sit on my deck and observe the stupidity daily. I’d be more than happy to turn in plate #s etc if it would amount to anything.

    Comment by Doc — 12:36 pm July 8, 2012 #

  29. Joey the police can’t be everyhere. They were out in force on Alki where the bulk of problems typically occur. I’m not sure what checkpoints up and down harbor avenue would have done but ease your mind a little.

    Comment by seattlej — 12:50 pm July 8, 2012 #

  30. @DelridgeResident: Yea i seen this vehicle goin by Brandon St at like 2:20pm going at highly fast speeds and they had there windows down and stuff but thing is it looked like they didn’t know where they were.

    Comment by matthew — 1:52 pm July 8, 2012 #

  31. Once to twice a week I see this SUV traveling at a high rate of speed down the Alki drag-strip (63rd Ave Sw), I’m glad they finally got this person. All of the attention is usually on Alki Ave, however people use 63rd as a drag strip daily. I wish the police could post up somewhere on this street too, all of the idiots that cruise use this street to turn around usually at a very high rate of speed, 45 mph + on a residential street.

    Comment by Get off my lawn — 1:52 pm July 8, 2012 #

  32. @Craig H, @Gina, my wife and I witnessed that accident last night around 1:30 am. It was a hit and run. I reported it to the SPD and have sent in a full report to the blog, unfortunately I was not able to obtain pictures last night. The driver was swerving all over the road and then hit the parked car.

    Comment by Alki_Josh — 1:55 pm July 8, 2012 #

  33. Thanks Alki J – I’ve been out for a while, just back and planning to publish that shortly.

    Comment by WSB — 2:23 pm July 8, 2012 #

  34. One can only hope that the person driving the SUV is not out on the roads again anytime soon.

    But the reality of the situation is they will do little to no jail time, and they will not have their driving privileges revoked, possible only suspended. Until criminal behavior is dealt with more harshly, the inmates will run the asylum.

    Comment by Harold Reems — 2:24 pm July 8, 2012 #

  35. And in fact, according to an update JUST in from SPD which I’m adding to the story in a minute, the suspect – 37-year-old West Seattle resident – had a recent hit-run arrest. Looking up further details – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:27 pm July 8, 2012 #

  36. @Joey I suspect that if people actually acted like decent human beings instead of self-centered morons, we wouldn’t need so many laws to protect the rest of us.

    Comment by WTF — 2:33 pm July 8, 2012 #

  37. @Ryan. Did the police take your name and number, so as to follow up with what you told them, or did they brush you off all together?

    Comment by Eric — 3:25 pm July 8, 2012 #

  38. 37 years old. Not human garbage, perhaps, but I think he may have a few more issues than others in his age group.

    Comment by West Seattleite — 4:22 pm July 8, 2012 #

  39. A 37 year old West Seattle resident was arrested.

    Hmmmm…

    I guess this puts the “invaders from other neighborhoods” theory to a brief rest.

    Comment by Genesee Hill — 5:02 pm July 8, 2012 #

  40. This guy ran through a red light at delridge and home depot going about 60 mph yesterday. I was about to turn in front of him at the intersecton… With my toddlers in the car…. And paused for some reason and just missed being totaled.

    Comment by Mike — 6:18 pm July 8, 2012 #

  41. @Eric yes the police took all my information and I filled out a statement as well as the two witnesses to the hit and run incident. I was also given the police report number.

    Comment by Ryan — 7:41 pm July 8, 2012 #

  42. I just read the Seattle PI articleaccount of this mornings chase – the beginning of the story is NOT how it happened at all! I happened to be out on my porch when it all began. It saddens me to read such incorrect accounts of important/scary events happening in our neighbohood. Perhaps that’s why those in journalistic circles are accused of ‘sensationalizing’ the facts.

    Comment by Carolyn — 8:21 pm July 8, 2012 #

  43. Carolyn – I can’t speak for another news organization. I can tell you that we saw representatives of two other news organizations at one or both of the scenes we covered, and that one wasn’t among them (doesn’t mean they weren’t there later, though). I haven’t read that account because we covered it this morning directly (my husband/co-publisher Patrick Sand and I) over the course of three visits to the two “scenes,” including a conversation with the Southwest Precinct commander, plus the later police account linked in our story when posted to SPD Blotter this afternoon. Please let me know if ours is contrary to what you saw. Thanks! – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 8:33 pm July 8, 2012 #

  44. Rims on an SUV? Let me guess, Madison Park lawyer.

    Comment by Sammiest — 8:40 pm July 8, 2012 #

  45. The SUV was flying by north bound on Harbor Ave. and passed by a SPD officer coming out of the Don Armeni parking lot and started the pursuit. It appeared the driver was going to pull over, however, he turned into the parking lot, sped through there, where he encountered a second SPD car pulling out of the driveway. He followed the second car out onto the street – alternately gunning his engine, running up on the second officer, then slowing down. As soon as the first officer came out of the parking lot, the SUV passed the second officer, and the chase was on by both SPD officers. I saw the SUV again, proceding south bound on Harbor again maybe 20 minutes later – this time at a regular rate of speed, where he passed by a SPD office cruising NB, he saw the officer turn around in a condo driveway, then took off again, at a high rate of speed.

    Comment by Carolyn — 8:48 am July 9, 2012 #

  46. Joey, it’s very possible that this case did involve driving drunk, assault, weapons, etc. To go off on such a tangent when so few details are known is a waste of time. Chill, SPD did their job. As for the 4th, I agree. There were teenagers shooting bottle rockets AT my dogs (who I was walking because they enjoy the mass of people) and I had to run them off myself because there did appear to be a specific lack of police presence. Granted, that may have to do with the multiple sirens (Up on Admiral I believe) I heard less than an hour before going out to the beach and it sounded like a pretty big deal. At the pirate landing however, they had a VERY noticeable presence and were all around really nice. :)

    Just saying, when it comes to “government” complaints, those are certainly much more federal than local, we’ve got a pretty spectacularly good thing going here in Seattle compared to the rest of the cities in the country.

    Comment by J242 — 1:04 pm July 9, 2012 #

  47. On the 4th of July, there were a TON of police at Alki. We reported it on it here and in other channels. We drove along the beach three times over the course of several hours and saw them every time. In addition, there was the incident behind an apartment on 55th, where a guy holed himself up for a while, taking up at least several officers’ time, after flashing a gun while standing on a balcony. The sirens you mention on Admiral were likely the ones for the fire we covered that night around 10 pm. Small fire but still required a large response. Blamed on fireworks. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:12 pm July 9, 2012 #

  48. @ Genesee Hill : Just because someone has an Alki address does not mean they are “from” here. I lived in Admiral for about 10 years before moving down here this January. I’m not an Alki native by any means even though I love and respect my new neighborhood (granted, it’s only a mile down from my previous home). All I’m saying is that just because someone has an address here, it doesn’t make them a local.

    - from a non-Alki local who lives here and looks forward to being an actual local. :)

    Comment by J242 — 1:14 pm July 9, 2012 #

  49. Sorry WSB, maybe there were further east but on the west end there was ZERO police presence. Teenagers shooting off bottle rockets at passing cars, pedestrians and more left and right. If they were here, they certainly weren’t making their presence known.

    Comment by J242 — 1:15 pm July 9, 2012 #

  50. For clarification, I’m speaking of the western most point of beach drive right by Cactus… We were there for an hour, no police presence whatsoever. I knew there were police somewhere, it’s wherever the fireworks weren’t going off and it kept moving, but it was observable. I think that SPD is just a little short-staffed and I’m not assigning any blame to them or complaining, just telling it like it is.

    Comment by J242 — 1:19 pm July 9, 2012 #

  51. aye quit talkn sh-t!!!! hes crazy! he has problems! yall got a problem!?

    Comment by ws206 — 11:10 am July 10, 2012 #

  52. don’t blame the seattle police for this kind of nonsence. they are still doing paper work when the prosecuter lets the perp back on the street. in europe if you flee from a police officer in a vehicle , you can kiss it goodby. it is gone . no questions.

    Comment by robert — 7:50 am July 11, 2012 #

  53. @ws206: yes, i have a problem with this person.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 10:32 am July 11, 2012 #

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