Robbery suspect steals Wash. police cruiser, leads officers on pursuit before crashing into state patrol vehicle

Two officers responded and were able to run after two of the three suspects; One suspect got away and stole the police cruiser

By Peter Talbot
The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

FIFE, Wash. — A suspect in a home-invasion robbery in Fife stole a police car and was pursued to Tacoma, where they crashed into a Washington State Patrol trooper's vehicle, injuring a civil service employee riding inside.

The suspect and two others tied to the robbery were taken into custody, said Fife Police Department assistant chief Aaron Gardner. He said an investigation is ongoing, and the three will be booked into Pierce County Jail on felony charges.

Two officers responded shortly after midnight to the armed robbery in the 5800 block of 4th Street East. Gardner said the home was occupied, and no one was hurt in the robbery. He said the three suspects were driving off when officers arrived, but the driver soon crashed into a ditch and all three bailed out.

One of the officers chased a front-seat passenger, and the other went after the driver, who Gardner said was armed with a handgun. He said the officer tackled him and struggled with the suspect on the ground.

"While all that was happening, the third suspect was able to gain access to one of our patrol vehicles," Gardner said. "When they did that, they stole it and fled from the scene."

Fife police vehicles have GPS location systems inside, according to Gardner. Police personnel from Fife and other agencies in the county located the vehicle and a pursuit ensued. Gardner said that pursuit led to Tacoma, where the driver collided with the Washington State Patrol trooper's vehicle sometime before 12:30 a.m. near the 3400 block of Portland Avenue.

Trooper John Dattilo said the patrol vehicle was driving north on Portland Avenue when the stolen police car came out of an alley or driveway and struck the trooper's vehicle nearly head-on. He said the civil service employee riding inside suffered a broken wrist in the collision. The trooper's injuries were minor.

Both vehicles were reportedly totaled.


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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