Pierce County prosecutors have filed charges against a 27-year-old man after a wild police chase involving a stolen car late Tuesday.
A sheriff’s deputy was put on paid administrative leave after shooting at the fleeing driver, who was not injured, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said Friday.
The department is reviewing the deputy’s actions and whether they fell within the agency’s guidelines for the use of deadly force. The review is standard procedure.
Prosecutors charged Joe Mata on Thursday with possession of a stolen vehicle, felony eluding, first-degree malicious mischief, first-degree felon in possession of a firearm, felony domestic violence court order violation and obstructing an officer.
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Charging documents gave this account:
A sheriff’s deputy spotted the stolen car – which had been reported stolen at gunpoint to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office – about 11:10 p.m. and tried to stop it at South 84th and South Hosmer streets.
The car didn’t stop and took several evasive actions. The driver steered toward the patrol car but the deputy avoided the crash. The car traveled in the northbound and southbound lanes of Hosmer and nearly hit a pedestrian near South 96th and Hosmer streets.
The car drove into the Pierce Transit Center at 9403 39th Ave. Court S.W. and crashed through a locked chain-link fence.
The driver got out of the car, climbed a fence and tried to run. The deputy fired at the driver but didn’t hit him, Troyer said.
A transit employee grabbed the driver, who took a swing at the employee. Other employees helped out and the driver was taken to the ground. Officers arrested him a short time later.
Mata was the subject of a restraining order involving the woman who was in the car. He was prohibited from contacting her and has five prior convictions for violating a no contact or protection order.
Mata told officers he “freaked out” because of the protection order. He said he’d traded use of the stolen car for drugs.
A detective found a handgun in the car. As a convicted felon, Mata is prohibited from owning or possessing a handgun.
Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268