Police Beat: Bus rider uses words, spit to make her point

Staff writerMay 17, 2014 

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

May 14: The thick catalog of law enforcement gear includes something called a spit hood. It works like a wedding veil without the romance.

The woman wore it under protest, and screamed through the fabric as an officer told her she was under arrest. The dispatch call started with a report of unruly behavior on a Pierce Transit bus, and a couple who refused to get off.

A Tacoma police officer working off-duty security drove to the transit center at 6615 S. 19th St. and sifted the details. He found the woman, 21, being held back by two men. She was a strawberry blonde, 4 feet 11, 130 pounds and spitting mad.

A transit supervisor explained. A bus driver had seen the woman fighting with a man at the bus stop. The couple stopped fighting long enough to board the bus.

At that point, the supervisor arrived and asked the man to get off. The man, 23, refused repeatedly. The woman started yelling. Finally, they got off, but the woman wasn’t finished with the supervisor. She lunged toward him and spat on him.

The officer spoke to the man and the woman. They said they weren’t a couple. They said they hadn’t fought. The woman stopped answering questions and started screaming. She stopped long enough to provide her identification.

Two more officers arrived. The original officer started asking the woman more questions, but she kept yelling at him. Officers cuffed her. In the patrol car, she banged her head against the partition. Officers secured the seat belt and added the spit hood. They called for medical aid.

A team of emergency medical technicians arrived. The woman made suicidal statements. The team took her to St. Joseph Medical Center for an evaluation. The officer cited the woman for unlawful bus conduct and resisting arrest. The man was released at the scene.

May 13: The biker wanted to show off his power braking technique, but he sent his audience into choking fits.

An officer cruising out of Tacoma police headquarters along South 38th Street heard the show before he saw it: a revving engine and screeching tires, playing a long solo. The officer veered toward a bar in the 3800 block of South Pine Street, the only business nearby open after midnight.

Approaching the parking lot, he heard the screeching again, and saw a cloud of white smoke rising over the building. The haze was so thick the officer couldn’t see the vehicle – the squeal went on for a full minute and stopped.

As the smoke cleared, the officer saw the target: a 2007 Suzuki GX460, white and blue. The smiling rider was a 43-year-old man. The pavement under his rear wheel was black, and the air stank.

The officer spoke to the man and started to cite him for reckless driving and a noise violation. The man said he was “just having fun” with the carload of people next to him.

The car was silver. The doors opened and four people tumbled out, hacking, coughing and shaking their heads.

The officer talked to the biker. His helmet couldn’t hide his breath, which was liquor-soaked. The biker said he’d had a few beers. During the field sobriety test, his eyes rolled and he stumbled over his feet. Two breath alcohol tests came back with readings of 0.11. The officer arrested the man on suspicion of drunken driving.

The man said he knew he screwed up, and added, “I can’t stay out of my own way.”

The officer agreed that pulling drunken stunts in a parking lot less than a block from police HQ was unwise. The man asked for a break. The officer transported him to the Fife City Jail.

May 9: The newlyweds fought over housework as they drove home from Mom’s house. Their argument ended like an outtake from a bad action movie.

Both were 21, married in February. He was a cabinet maker. She was a taxi driver. She drove, he rode. They fought. He needled her. She said he didn’t help keep the house clean. He needled her again. She told him to get out of the car. He got out.

Near the intersection of Sixth Avenue and South Mildred Street, she stopped at a red light. Her husband, walking and fuming, jumped onto the back of the car, kicked in the back windshield and got stuck. He leaped out, started running down the street, fell and passed out.

By this time, the dispatch call was active. Officers headed for the scene. A witness – a 32-year-old man – had heard the crash and turned to see the husband running and falling. The witness had military experience as an EMT. He looked at the prone man and saw a nasty wound; the man’s right leg was bleeding, possibly cut by shards of the broken windshield.

Officers arrived to sort out the mess. An ambulance and EMTs from the Tacoma Fire Department arrived to treat the husband, who was taken to Tacoma General Hospital.

The woman said they’d been arguing in the car over house cleaning, and her husband insulted her. She told him to get out of the car, and then he jumped on the back and hurt himself somehow. She said she didn’t want to press charges or testify in court.

At the hospital, the man told officers he’d been arguing with his wife and decided to “jump over” the car, which he’d been able to do before. This time it hadn’t worked out.

Officers cited the man for third-degree malicious mischief and third-degree domestic violence, and handed him a ticket with a court date.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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