FOLLOWUP: Washington State Patrol explains Saturday morning’s West Seattle airplane circling, and more

(Saturday morning photo from Gary)

Early Saturday, after numerous texts, we reported on what turned out to be a Washington State Patrol aircraft circling in multiple areas of West Seattle. We also showed its flight path, looping over other areas of the county before coming here. Commenters added word of WSP on the ground in Seaview (and, as shown above, a photo). Today a WSP news release explains it all (West Seattle is the second case):

Just after 1:00 am yesterday morning, May 27, 2023, Washington State Patrol (WSP) troopers were involved in two incidents in which drivers fled from attempted traffic stops.

Eluding #1 – A Pontiac G8 fled from an attempted traffic stop NB SR 167 near 212th in Kent. WSP aircraft followed as the vehicle took the exit to 180th where it got caught up in traffic allowing the ground units to contact the vehicle. The driver was arrested for Felony Eluding and the 17 year old passenger was arrested for illegal possession of a handgun.

Eluding #2 – This occurred in nearly the same location – NB SR 167 approaching I-405 – when two Infiniti sedans were observed at a high rate and fled from an attempted traffic stop. WSP aircraft was able to locate one of the vehicles and began following the vehicle and communicating to the ground units on the direction of travel. The Infiniti continued NB on I-405 to WB I-90, at times turning all lights off and driving in an extremely reckless manner even though there was NO pursuit. WSP aircraft followed the vehicle all the way to SB I-5, then the West Seattle Freeway into West Seattle, where the car was abandoned in an alley. Ground units were guided to the area and were able to place the driver and passenger that fled on foot into custody.

These two incidents display the use of the Aviation Section of the Washington State Patrol as paramount to holding suspects accountable that choose to flee from law enforcement. This creates the safest way possible to reach the goal of safety for all and create a deterrent for this illegal and unsafe behavior. The communication and coordination between the aircraft, WSP District 2/King County ground units and local law enforcement partners allows for this accountability and WILL continue.

We’ll be following up on the people arrested in West Seattle.

16 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Washington State Patrol explains Saturday morning's West Seattle airplane circling, and more"

  • Rhonda May 28, 2023 (1:22 pm)

    Two VERY happy endings. I hope the eluders face long prison sentences. Great job, WSP!

  • Odd son May 28, 2023 (2:38 pm)

    WSP used the term West Seattle Freeway. I still hear it occasionally. It’s not a freeway and the speed limit has been dropped. I wonder why the West Seattle Freeway name still stands. It hasn’t been known by that name for decades. I think it changed in 1989?

    • Danimal May 28, 2023 (9:36 pm)

      It absolutely is a freeway. It’s designed like one, with entrance and off ramps and not cross intersections. People who know what they’re doing when they’re driving drive like it is a freeway yet still do it safely, and I’ll admit to being one of those on occasion. There’s no reason to have the speed limits be so low on it, in most conditions. Variable speed limits would make more sense. Should be at least 60 when traffic isn’t heavy.

      • Odd son May 29, 2023 (1:15 am)

        It’s the West Seattle Viaduct or West Seattle Bridge, not the West Seattle Freeway.

        • Ron Swanson May 29, 2023 (1:46 pm)

          The Sears Tower is the Willis Tower now but nobody calls it that.  It’ll always be the West Seattle Freeway.

      • Gary May 29, 2023 (12:37 pm)

        Even the cops call it a freeway! 40 is insane for it. Even bad drivers know that. 

      • Steve May 29, 2023 (4:03 pm)

        You can’t SAFELY go 60 on the west side curve. You can’t safely go 60 on the east, flat end. So really you want to joyride on the uphill/downhill where east bound and west bound there’s 2 on-ramps and 2 off-ramps over a 2 mile stretch. It’s going to save you, what, 40 seconds vs going 45mph? Brilliant assessment.

      • Josh May 30, 2023 (1:12 am)

        It absolutely is not a freeway. It is not safe to bE driven at freeway speeds on any section of it and just because most people do drive it (especially westbound) at unsafe speed does not mean it’s appropriate. It’s an elevated turnpike that is narrow and with extreme grades and a high concentration of transit and freight traffic. There is absolutely no good reason to speed on it as it is short enough and with enough sudden turns either on it or to exit it that one does not even gain anytime by driving dangerously on it. The same people who claim that it should be driven at insane speed are the same kind of people who are constantly spinning out and crashing on it while claiming to have not been speeding or who try to blame the city for not making it not slippery when it’s raining out. 

  • Drew May 28, 2023 (5:54 pm)

    Good job WSP, and thanks WSB for the reporting.

  • MatE2010 May 28, 2023 (6:04 pm)

    What is meant by “aircraft” in this case? Fixed wing (plane) or rotary (helicopter)?

    • WSB May 28, 2023 (6:59 pm)


  • Scubafrog May 28, 2023 (6:07 pm)

    That’s so neat, thumbs up!

  • Meeeee May 28, 2023 (6:32 pm)

    It will always be the West Seattle Freeway to me, even if the posted speed limit is lowered yet again.

  • Question Authority May 29, 2023 (6:19 am)

    In Eluding #2, the simple fact they attempted to hide by turning off the lites shows obvious youthful ignorance as you can’t hide from FLIR.

  • Patience May 29, 2023 (1:43 pm)
    Yep, it is called the West Seattle Bridge. 
    Check out this link: 

    Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge

    The replacement bridge was opened in 1984.[12][13] The West Seattle Bridge was renamed as the Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge on July 6, 2009, in honor of councilmember Williams, who had been instrumental in securing political support for the construction of the bridge.[12][13] All directional signs still carry the name “West Seattle Bridge”, many of which had formerly borne the designation “West Seattle Freeway”.
  • JCK June 1, 2023 (4:48 pm)

    Why can’t they use drones for this now, I wonder? 

Sorry, comment time is over.