Passenger of suspected DUI driver calls 911 on Wash. state trooper during pursuit

The passenger argued that her "constitutional rights" were being violated by the pursuit


By Quinn Welsch
The Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — A passenger in a truck called 911 after midnight on Sunday to report that they were being chased south down State Route 27 by another vehicle.

Their pursuer?

The Washington State Patrol.

A trooper spotted a newer Ford F-150 driving in and out of lanes at about 12:30 a.m. near Third Avenue and Route 27 in Spokane Valley, according to Washington State Patrol spokesman Trooper Ryan Senger. The trooper suspected it might be a possible DUI, so he activated his lights.

But the driver, identified as 28-year-old Amanda M. Baporis, didn't pull over.

Instead, Baporis continued down the highway for nearly 10 miles, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, while still swerving in and out of lanes, Senger said.

According to Senger, Baporis and two other passengers in the Ford believed the trooper was not allowed to pursue them after the state Legislature approved reforms to high-speed police pursuits in 2021. But that's not correct.

[RELATED: Wash. state LE say more drivers are fleeing cops amid new laws]

Under the law, officers can engage in pursuits when there is reasonable suspicion that a person is driving under the influence or has committed a violent offense or sex offense, among other suspicions. Police engaging in pursuits are required to notify their supervisors immediately and to also notify nearby police jurisdictions.

Senger said this pursuit was authorized by a WSP supervisor.

It's unclear what exactly Baporis told 911 dispatchers, but Senger said she argued that her "constitutional rights" were being violated by the pursuit.

"They called county 911, who transferred them to us," he said. "It's hilarious."

Another state trooper deployed a spike strip near Belmont Road, about 7 miles south from the start of the pursuit. It disabled one of the truck tires, Senger said. The truck eventually went off the road into a field near Washington Avenue, just north of the Freeman Store, where it got stuck on a berm.

The truck occupants refused to get out of the vehicle at first. But eventually, Baporis got out, followed by her two passengers.

Baporis was arrested on one count of DUI and one count of attempting to elude police. Her two passengers were released.

Senger said troopers found alcohol containers in the vehicle.

Troopers blocked the road for about two hours, but it was reopened by 3 a.m., he said.

Senger said this isn't the first time a driver fleeing from police has called 911 in an effort to shake a pursuit.

"We've had that across the state," he said. "Unfortunately, people don't understand we can still pursue. If you're getting pulled over, you need to pull over."

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

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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