Tacoma man found in woods after Saturday night’s traffic-delaying crash on I-5

A 40-year-old Tacoma man accused of triggering a crash on northbound I-5 near Tumwater that delayed traffic for several hours Saturday night was later found in the woods by a Thurston County Sheriff’s deputy, court records show.

The Tacoma man was set to appear in Thurston County Superior Court on suspicion of hit and run and driving while under the influence.

The Olympian reported that about 10 p.m. Saturday, the Tacoma man was headed north on I-5 at milepost 99 in a 2016 Dodge Challenger. Troopers say he was traveling at a high rate of speed and attempted to pass another vehicle.

He struck the vehicle he was trying to pass — a Chevrolet Express van — which caused the van to hit another vehicle. After the van hit that third vehicle, it rolled and blocked a lane of I-5.

Meanwhile, troopers say the man left the scene, but was later detained by a deputy. The deputy saw the man turn from Tumwater Boulevard onto Center Street, then he turned right again onto 78th Avenue Southwest and came to a dead end.

The deputy saw the man run into the woods, then shined a light in the direction of his path.

“(The man) raised his arms up in the air and stated, ‘Here I am,’” charging documents read.

A trooper later performed a field sobriety test and rated the man’s performance as “poor.”

“I was able to smell strong odor of intoxicants generating from his breath and he spoke with heavy, slurred speech,” the documents read. “His eyes were watery and bloodshot and swayed in a circular motion.”

Only one person was injured in the three-car crash, a 37-year-old woman from Chehalis. She was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia Saturday night.

A spokesman for the hospital said Monday the Chehalis woman had been treated and released.