Good Samaritan gone bad: Man helps store clerk, then swings baton at her, documents say

A Puyallup man who initially came to the aid of a convenience store clerk turned on her with a collapsible baton, then led Pierce County sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase Sunday, according to charging documents.

The 52-year-old man was arraigned Tuesday in Pierce County Superior Court on charges of second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault, attempting to elude police and unlawful display of a weapon.

Bail was set at $75,000.

According to charging documents and sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer:

A clerk at a convenience store in the 10700 block of Pacific Avenue South was having trouble with a drunken customer about 9 p.m. Sunday, so the Puyallup man tried to help her.

The man went outside with the customer and they continued to argue, so the clerk tried to calm them and grabbed the Puyallup man’s arm.

He pulled out a collapsible baton, swung it at the clerk and then ran from the scene.

A sheriff’s deputy responding to the assault passed the man’s vehicle and did a U-turn to follow him. The man drove onto westbound state Route 512 with the deputy on his tail, reaching 100 mph.

As the man turned onto northbound Interstate 5, he lost control of his vehicle and spun onto the median. The deputy stayed on the highway and watched as the man drove off again.

The deputy tried to spin out the man’s vehicle, but the man kept driving north.

The deputy pulled next to the man’s vehicle, which was in heavy traffic. The man steered into the deputy’s cruiser, which spun across four lanes of I-5 and hit the center barrier, then hit another vehicle.

The man’s vehicle was disabled in the crash, as was the deputy’s. The deputy left the cruiser, took the bloodied man from his vehicle and arrested him.

The man, reeking of alcohol, argued with law enforcement.

He said he was trying to help a homeless person and “those (people) called the police.” He said he “did something stupid” when he saw the deputy behind him.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker