A man who tried to flee in a detective’s SUV and was shot during a struggle with police last year has been sentenced.
Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend sentenced 27-year-old Joshua Puente to two years, one month in prison Jan. 10. He pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen vehicle, attempted theft of a vehicle and third-degree assault.
That prison term is part of a special drug offender sentencing alternative, which means Puente will get drug and alcohol treatment as part of his sentence, and will have a couple of years of probation when he is released.
In being evaluated for the special sentence, Puente indicated he had trouble with alcohol and various drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine, and that he believed it was extremely important for him to get treatment.
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Charging papers give this account of his struggle with police Jan. 3, 2016:
A woman called 911 after she saw her stolen Honda Civic near South 48th and South Asotin streets.
An officer who responded found Puente behind the wheel, and after the officer knocked on the window, Puente drove away.
He crashed into a nearby fence, and officers followed his footsteps in the snow, until they found him trying to carjack someone in the area.
Then Puente ran to a detective’s SUV that was running nearby. After a struggle with officers, during which a detective used a stun gun on him, Puente accelerated with one officer still hanging onto the vehicle. He crashed the detective’s SUV into a car and a house, and was arrested.
At some point during the confrontation, Sgt. Barry Paris shot Puente in the hip, and Puente was taken to the hospital for the injury, which was not life-threatening.
Paris is in his early 60s, and has worked for Tacoma police for more than 25 years.
The police vehicle Puente crashed was assigned to Detective Scott Stanley. Prior to sentencing, Stanley wrote the court that he used that car as part of a regional search and rescue team, and that the loaner vehicle he got after the crash wasn’t big enough to hold his search and rescue gear.
“This would delay my response to a potential lifesaving situation,” he wrote.