A high-speed chase in the Spanaway area had all the makings of a good movie.
An airborne car, a passionate kiss and a driver with nothing to lose.
Or so he thought.
Daniel Dean Morris II, 33, had two ticks under Washington’s “three strikes” law when he allegedly fled a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy last week, meaning another offense could get him life behind bars.
When the chase ended and the deputy stopped him, Morris said he had panicked because he had a warrant for his arrest, and didn’t want to go back to prison, according to charging papers.
But the deputy didn’t find a warrant.
By then, however, the chase had prompted new cause for arrest.
Morris pleaded not guilty at arraignment Thursday to second-degree assault, trying to elude police, reckless endangerment and driving with a suspended license.
Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $1 million. Court records didn’t list an attorney for him.
Charging papers give this account of the pointless, Hollywoodesque chase:
It started when a faulty taillight on a Volkswagen Passat Morris was driving caught the deputy’s attention Jan. 3. He checked the license plate and found it might be connected to a recent robbery.
Then the car suddenly flipped around in a cul de sac and sped head-on toward the patrol car. The deputy swerved out of the way, put on his car’s emergency lights and siren, and took off after the panicking Morris.
At speeds of about 100 mph, the Passat at one point went airborne. Sparks flew from the undercarriage as the car landed on the road in the 21400 block of 22nd Avenue.
At a nearby railroad crossing, it fishtailed and slid onto two wheels.
The car ended up 30 feet off the road, and the deputy thought the chase was done. But the Passat came back to life, again speeding at the patrol car.
Again the deputy swerved away, and then drove after the Passat, which had started to spew oil.
A rock in the area of 204th Street finally did it in. The Passat got high-centered on the stone and the pursuit came to a close.
Deputies found Morris holding the woman in the passenger seat, as he sat on top of her, yelling that his life was over. He said this would be his third strike, and shouted for deputies to shoot him.
A few minutes later, the deputies coaxed the couple out.
“After the defendant and the passenger held each other and kissed, she told the deputies that she did not know what the defendant was doing and she thought she was ‘going to die by hitting a telephone pole,’ deputy prosecutor Patrick Cooper wrote in the declaration for determination of probable cause.
Morris apologized and said he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, just to get away.
As for the warrant that caused him to panic:
“A check did not show the warrant in the system,” Cooper wrote. “When he (Morris) was told this, he yelled a profanity.”