2 Wash. bank robbers thought police couldn’t pursue them — they were wrong

Agencies throughout the state have seen an increase in suspects refusing to stop for law enforcement after last year’s change in pursuit law

By Anne Berleant 

TACOMA, Wash. — Two men fleeing in a stolen pickup truck after robbing a Washington bank on Tuesday were surprised when a Kitsap County deputy started pursuing them. As they were arrested and taken into custody, one man told the deputy he did not think law enforcement was allowed to pursue runaway cars, The Chronicle reported. 

After a 2021 law changed the state’s pursuit policy for law enforcement, the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office has seen a sizable increase in vehicles evading law enforcement vehicles, spokesperson Ken Dickinson told The News Tribune. 

“This incident is one of numerous recent examples of the effects of the new pursuit law that seems to have emboldened criminals and potentially encourages them to drive dangerously and recklessly to evade capture,” a press release noted.  

[RELATED: Wash. state patrol dashcam videos show failure-to-stop incidents amid pursuit reforms]

After spotting the getaway truck, the deputy radioed in for permission. His supervisor granted it, Dickinson said, because the law allows pursuit after violent felonies and the crime was reported as first-degree robbery, which meets that criteria. 

Deputies then pursued for several miles until the pickup truck rear-ended another vehicle and tried to flee. Deputies then used a PIT maneuver and arrested the two suspects on charges including first-degree robbery, attempting to elude and possession of a stolen vehicle. 

NEXT: 911 audio: Suspect tells dispatcher to call off Seattle PD pursuit, citing new law

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