It started with a rookie’s keen eye. Then a chase on sparking wheels, a spin-out, a gun …

This gun was found in the road after a chase early Wednesday through East Pierce County, sheriff’s deputies said.
This gun was found in the road after a chase early Wednesday through East Pierce County, sheriff’s deputies said. Courtesy

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A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy on his second day of work spotted a suspicious car in Spanaway that ended up being driven by an armed felon who fled law enforcement early Wednesday, authorities said.

The 31-year-old suspect was booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of first-degree assault, eluding police, driving under the influence, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, first-degree driving while suspended and a trip permit violation. There was also an active warrant for the man’s arrest for escaping from community custody.

According to sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer:

About 1 a.m. Wednesday, the deputy and his training partner were driving down 192nd Street East in Spanaway when they saw a Honda Civic driving the opposite direction with no front license plate.

The newly minted deputy then noticed the car had expired license plate tabs and an illegible trip permit in the back window. One of the car’s brake lights was out, too.

The deputy pulled the car over on 22nd Avenue East, but as he approached the car, the driver sped off, reaching speeds of 80 mph in a 35 mph zone and running a stop sign along the way.

A third deputy was going toward the man’s car, so he turned off his headlights, crossed the median on 152nd Street East and drove toward the deputy’s patrol car. That deputy had to veer onto the shoulder to avoid being hit.

The car eventually ran over stop sticks on 152nd near Pacific Avenue, but that was no deterrent. With sparks flying from his right front wheel, he still went about 60 mph as he swerved all over Military Road

Deputies eventually spun the man’s car out near Perimeter Road, leaving it resting against a Joint Base Lewis-McChord fence.

The man was arrested, and two other people in the car were safe and found to be unwilling participants in the chase.

Deputies found a hypodermic needle and crumpled foil in the car, and the driver appeared to be in a fugue. One of the passengers said the man threw a gun from the car, which was found in the street nearby.

Apart from having his first pursuit and arrest with the Sheriff’s Department, the deputy also got to change his first set of tires on the car after getting a flat during the chase.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker