Crime

I-5 standoff suspect is at a hospital. Police aren’t sure why he was driving 100 mph

Suspect surrenders after high-speed chase leads to collision and standoff on I-5

A high speed chase led to a collision and standoff on I5 near Gravelly Lake Drive Southwest in Lakewood. The standoff closed the highway for several hours. The standoff ended peacefully after the suspect surrendered to police.
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A high speed chase led to a collision and standoff on I5 near Gravelly Lake Drive Southwest in Lakewood. The standoff closed the highway for several hours. The standoff ended peacefully after the suspect surrendered to police.

A man suspected of getting into a standoff with police following a chase and crash on Interstate 5 in Lakewood was at a hospital Wednesday, police said.

Lakewood police spokesman Chris Lawler told The News Tribune the man was taken to a hospital after Tuesday’s standoff ended peacefully. He is under observation and might not be released until Thursday, Lawler said.

He’ll be booked into Pierce County Jail when that happens. Lawler said the man has a state Department of Corrections escape warrant, a misdemeanor assault warrant and a felony warrant from Ellensburg.

Prior court records indicate the 33-year-old has a history of methamphetamine addiction, car theft and other crimes.

Investigators aren’t yet sure why he was driving the way he was Tuesday.

Police gave this account of what happened:

The man was going more than 100 mph when he passed a police car on the freeway.

The police officer pursued the man, who ended up crashing the SUV he was driving into a semi about 4 p.m. near Gravelly Lake Drive Southwest.

The semi crashed through the freeway barrier into the northbound lanes. The driver was not injured.

The standoff ensued, with the SUV driver threatening his own life with a knife inside his wrecked vehicle.

Police negotiated with him, and ultimately he surrendered.

The incident shut down the freeway and caused traffic backups well into the evening.

The News Tribune does not generally name suspects before they have been charged with a crime.

Court records indicate the man has a lengthy criminal record, including numerous convictions for car theft dating to 1998 when he was 12 years old. Records of a 2015 King County conviction for third-degree assault and felony harassment refer to the man’s longstanding addiction to methamphetamine.

A forensic mental health evaluation conducted as part of the 2015 conviction also described “a history of theatricality when distressed,” possibly linked to drug-seeking behavior in confinement.

The evaluation assessed the man’s competence to stand trial and concluded that he “was feigning psychotic and cognitive impairments” that appeared “contrived and seemed to be related to an attempt to avoid answering court-related questions.”

The underlying incident that led to the criminal charges involved a woman the man had dated for several years. Charging papers state that the man and his brother assaulted the woman after an argument. The woman eventually escaped and called police.

Court records indicate the man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 51 months in prison.

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Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.


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