A Lakewood man stole a water district truck and crashed it into an oncoming vehicle Wednesday morning, severely injuring the other driver, Pierce County prosecutors say.
The 64-year-old was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court on charges of vehicular assault, vehicle theft, obstructing police and operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock. His bail was set at $100,000.
According to court documents:
A Lakewood Water District worker drove to a work site at Rose Road and Forest Road about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday to meet with a contractor there.
He got about 100 feet away from his utility-issued truck when someone shouted to alert him that it was being stolen.
A short time later, police were dispatched to a crash a couple of blocks away in the 15200 block of Portland Avenue Southwest. Officers arrived to find the truck facing northbound in the far southbound lane with significant damage to its front end. Nearby was another pickup in someone’s front yard, crumpled, with its driver trapped inside.
West Pierce Fire & Rescue crews were able to extricate the man, who had broken his left femur and hip, his right wrist and his right foot.
Meanwhile, the driver of the stolen truck took off on foot.
A Lakewood police officer was able to catch the man, pinning him against an SUV, but when the officer went to handcuff him, he tried to sprint away.
The officer grabbed the collar of the man’s sweatshirt and pulled him back to the ground. It was reported in the documents that the man’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot, and he reeked of alcohol.
Both the utility employee and the witness recognized the man.
“The same guy approached a worker for a ride yesterday and offered him $50 for a ride to the store,” the utility employee wrote in a statement to police.
The witness told police the man asked him for a ride to the store just before he stole the truck, but he declined to take him.
After he was arrested, the man told police he took the truck because his vehicle was dead.