Police Beat: Drunken driver a bit hazy on how he flipped his car

Staff writerMay 24, 2014 

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

May 22: The driver was Jäger-bombed. His silver Chevy Malibu was flipped, sitting on its passenger side near the intersection of South 11th and Oakes streets, not far from a parked Ford truck that looked bashed.

The Malibu driver was 34. He said another car, a white Malibu, rammed him and knocked the car sideways.

The officer responding to the scene thought the story made no sense. The flipped Malibu bore no signs of white paint that might have transferred from another car in a collision.

The officer confronted the driver. The driver said he actually didn’t see another vehicle, but he thought someone must have hit him because his car flipped.

The driver slurred his words. His breath was pungent, and he swayed on his feet.

The officer asked the driver why he lied.

“What are you going to do about this?” the driver said, pointing to his arm.

The officer looked at the driver’s arm, saw nothing and asked what he was talking about.

“This,” the driver said, pointing to his arm again.

Did the driver need medical aid?


The officer spoke to witnesses — a group of about 10 people, milling around the scene. No one had seen the crash, though they heard it.

The driver refused medical aid when a team arrived. The officer ran field sobriety tests. The driver blew them all. He said he’d had two drinks: a beer and a Jäger-bomb. He said he didn’t feel impaired. Later, he admitted having four drinks. An hour after the incident, he took a breath test at Tacoma police headquarters. Two readings came back: 0.19 and 0.197 — easily exceeding 0.08, the state’s legal limit for drivers. The driver was arrested and booked on suspicion of drunken driving.

May 19: The second round of the landlord-tenant dispute started with a burglary call and ended with a technical knockout.

The tenant was a 25-year-old woman. The landlord was a 54-year-old man. The apartment was in the 4800 block of North Shirley Street. Officers had visited three days earlier to sort out a dispute over rent and rights.

This time, the tenant said the landlord was evicting her, and she suspected he’d stolen her air conditioner. She noticed it was missing when she came home. She figured the landlord used his key to come in and take it. If not, he could have reached in through the window, unplugged it and taken it that way.

She said she owned the air conditioner. She had a receipt from Walmart that described the unit, the brand and the serial number.

The landlord said yes, he’d taken the air conditioner. He’d reached in through the window. He said he needed to remove it because the tenant was running the unit while she was out, draining power.

He said the unit was his, and said he had a receipt for it. He showed the unit to police.

Officers looked at the unit, the brand and the serial number. Everything matched the details on the tenant’s receipt.

The landlord insisted the unit was his, but he couldn’t find the receipt he claimed he had. He said the previous tenants left it behind when they moved out.

Officers cited the landlord for trespassing and misdemeanor theft, issued him a citation with a court date and released him at the scene.

May 17: It’s hard to imagine the delights that lurk backstage at a paint party, but the concertgoer was determined to find out.

The occasion was the Life in Color concert at the Tacoma Dome — a palette of techno music and dance, mixed with hose streams of paint sprayed at the audience.

Officers working off-duty security at the event hustled to the kitchen area and a reported fight. They found a 22-year-old man wrestling with kitchen staffers, who were trying to hold him down.

The man yelled that he wanted to be left alone, and twisted away from the staffers. Officers ordered him to cool down, but he wouldn’t. They tried to cuff him. He flailed and threw punches. They missed. It took two officers and a brief struggle to wrap him up.

A Dome staffer said the man had jumped a barricade to get into a restricted area. Staffers tried to escort him back to the main concert area, but the man broke free and ran for the kitchen, banging into counters, racks and appliances.

Staffers caught up with him and tried again to send him back to the concert area, but the man refused and kept fighting, throwing punches at the supervisor who had tried to stop him.

Officers interviewed the man. His driver’s license listed an address in Portland. His speech was slurry. He said he hadn’t taken any drugs, but he’d had four shots of something he didn’t identify. He also had a felony arrest warrant out of Oregon for a suspected drug offense.

Officers took the man to the Fife City Jail. He refused to sign the form acknowledging his rights. Officers read it to him. They booked him on suspicion of criminal assault, resisting arrest and criminal trespassing.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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