Police Beat: Designated driver offered ride to jail

Staff writerSeptember 28, 2013 

Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma Police.

Sept. 22: The silver sedan was anything but subtle.

Rolling on South 84th Street shortly after 1 a.m., the driver trashed the speed limit and zipped past three cars in the right lane. An officer watched from a patrol car, pulled in behind the sedan and flicked on his emergency lights.

The car slowed, taking a right turn way too wide. A passenger leaned out the window and threw up.

The officer approached the car and the 25-year-old driver and asked the usual questions. The driver said he didn’t know how fast he was going. His eyes were bloodshot. He said he hadn’t been drinking. His breath said the opposite. He fumbled for his license and handed it over.

The passenger stepped out of the car. He was in bad shape. The officer showed mercy.

“The front passenger, who was alert and responsive, was permitted to continue vomiting outside of the car and declined medical aid,” the report states.

The driver was cheerful. He admitted having one drink earlier. He said he was the designated driver for tonight’s party. He kept searching for his registration. Did the officer want his driver’s license?

The officer said the driver had already given it. The driver laughed.

He failed his field sobriety test. Standing on one foot was impossible. Did the officer want his driver’s license?

The officer let the passenger walk home. He arrested the driver on suspicion of DUI, and booked him into the Fife Jail.

Sept. 23: The dispatch call said a man was assaulting a woman in a hotel room. Two officers drove to the 8700 block of South Hosmer Street and started looking around.

As they arrived, they noticed a man walking through the hotel parking lot. He matched the description given by dispatchers: 5 feet 7, medium build, blue jacket, bald. An officer talked to the man and asked which room he was coming from.

The man didn’t know. He said he was visiting his friend.

Which friend? The man couldn’t come up with a name.

The officer said the man resembled someone suspected in a domestic violence incident. He looked down for an instant to click his radio. The man took off running.

The officer ran, shouting, “Police! Stop!” The man didn’t stop, but his shoe fell off and he stubbed his toe on a curb. He reached toward his waistband.

The officer, spotting the movement, drew a stun gun but didn’t fire it. The man slipped and fell. The officer closed in and cuffed him. The man was unarmed.

The man said he ran because he had two active arrest warrants. The officers checked, and found them. They looked for the woman who had been assaulted, but the hotel room was empty. They booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on the active warrants.

Sept. 21: The bloody man ran through Wright Park, wearing nothing but a pair of blue shorts. He was 39. He’d fled from Tacoma General Hospital after assaulting a staffer.

Two officers answered the dispatch call and found the man pacing around a fire truck, clenching his fists.

More than 100 parishioners from a nearby church watched. The evening service had just ended, and they’d walked into a spectacle.

One officer shouted at the man, who stood in the middle of the intersection of South I Street and South 6th Avenue, blocking traffic.

The officer drew a stun gun and ordered the man to give up. Two more officers arrived; together, they corralled the bloody man. The first officer went to the emergency room to sort out the mess.

Hospital staffers said the man had been brought in earlier for treatment and started raging, pulling out his IVs, spraying blood in all directions. A nursing assistant said the man was schizophrenic, delusional and a drug user.

When doctors tried to treat the man, he wouldn’t listen; he was hearing voices. He stood up, ripped out the IVs and ran for the door. The nursing assistant tried to stop him. The man flailed his arms and tagged the assistant on the jaw.

The assistant said he wouldn’t press charges normally – patients sometimes did these things – but this guy was a regular, and this behavior was always the same.

Officers brought the man back to the hospital. Staffers wrapped him in restraints. The officer told the man he was being arrested for third-degree assault, though he’d stay at the hospital for treatment. The man said he didn’t hit anyone.

Officers checked his record. The man had a long history of minor convictions – more than 20 – associated with mental illness and drug abuse. Records listed him as “a violent or serious threat to law enforcement.”

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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