Crime

Police Beat: A mythical miscarriage, juggling two girlfriends, and a trail of blood

Aug. 4: Maybe it was a miscarriage caused by an assault. Maybe it was a myth. Either way, it ended with a man in tears.

The man was 37. His girlfriend was 34. Officers responded to a pair of intertwined incidents. The first was a reported assault by the man that caused his girlfriend to lose her baby. Reportedly, she was five months pregnant.

The second incident involved an argument and a chase — the woman had tried to run the man over with a car, according to witnesses.

Officers drove to a gas station in the 8200 block of Pacific Avenue. The man and the woman were there.

Witnesses said they’d seen the couple in a white car, arguing. The man had tried to get out on the passenger side. The woman had pulled his hair. The man hit her to make her let go, and stepped out of the car.

The woman tried to turn the car around and drove over the sidewalk. The witnesses said they couldn’t see exactly what happened next, but another witness said the man had been hit.

The woman and the man were taken to Tacoma General Hospital for treatment. The woman said she was pregnant. At first, the man declined medical aid. Then he changed his mind.

An officer sat with him in the emergency room. They waited together for a long time. The man wouldn’t say much, other than that his girlfriend was pregnant.

Slowly, he started saying more.

He said he and his girlfriend had been together for 15 years. The first 10 years were fine, but about four years ago, she’d changed, he said. Her moods would swing and she would have “super angry times.” Sometimes she would attack him. He would not strike back, except to get away, he said.

Today he had been going to an appointment with social services regarding his son. He didn’t want to be late. They also needed to pick up their daughter from school. In the car, he realized they were going to miss the social services appointment.

That was when the fight had started, he said. He tried to get out of the car. His girlfriend pulled his hair. He hit at her to make her let go and got out of the car. He didn’t realize she was following him until the car hit him.

The officer was called away from the conversation. A Tacoma General social worker wanted to make sure the woman would be safe, since her husband had assaulted her and reportedly caused a miscarriage.

The officer explained that the man would be going to jail — but he added that the woman had tried to run the man over with her car.

The social worker was surprised. She hadn’t heard that part of the story — the girlfriend had sounded so believable, she said.

She added something else: Apparently, the woman “was not pregnant anymore.”

Officers sorted the story out over the next few hours. Doctors at the emergency room had run tests on the woman: blood, urine and ultrasound. All had come back negative.

Even if she’d been pregnant a few weeks earlier and lost the baby, the proof would have appeared in the blood tests, the doctor said.

The woman wasn’t pregnant. She hadn’t been pregnant for a long time.

The officer told the man, who started crying. The officer booked the man into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of a domestic-violence assault. The woman had also been cited for misdemeanor assault based on the incident with the car.

A day later, Tacoma city prosecutors declined to file charges in both cases.

Aug. 3: The two-girlfriend plan never seems to end well, but that doesn’t stop folks from trying it.

The dispatch call came from a 53-year-old man who said he was following his ex after she threw bricks at his car. Officers drove to an address in the 6400 block of Tacoma Avenue South. They spoke to Girlfriend A, who lived at the house with the man.

Girlfriend A was 50. She said she heard a crash behind the house that morning. She stepped outside and saw a woman in black, who fled.

Girlfriend A looked at her boyfriend’s car. The windshield was cracked, and a brick was still lodged in it, held in place by a windshield wiper.

Girlfriend A said she woke her boyfriend and told him. The man reacted instantly, and started chasing the woman.

One officer tracked down Girlfriend B, the brick-thrower. She was 26. Another officer found the man. Together, the officers unraveled the story.

The man said he’d been with Girlfriend B for about five years, but they’d broken up a year ago. She’d been trying to get back together with him and stolen his car the day before, but had given it back.

Girlfriend B told a slightly different story. She and her boyfriend had broken up, she said, but he was still seeing her on the side. They’d argued over money and drugs the day before. She said he hit her, and she tried to get away. She said she didn’t report it because “I love him.” She showed the officer a series of back-and-forth text messages that made the story murkier.

Confronted with the story, the man admitted he was living with his new girlfriend while trying to keep the old one on the side.

Officers booked Girlfriend B into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of destruction of property.

Aug. 2: The blood trail flowed like a horror movie, but it led to a pool of stupidity.

The dispatch call came in shortly after 3 a.m. as a reported burglary. Officers drove to the 600 block of St. Helens Avenue. They found a shattered storefront window and blood on the ground. The trail was thick enough for worry; someone was bleeding badly.

One officer followed the trail for two blocks. He found three people in a covered parking lot: two women, both 23, and a man, 24. All were drunk and blotched with blood, crouching in a growing puddle. The women were unhurt, pressing on the man’s wounds in a vain effort to stop the flow. The man had a belt wrapped around his right arm, which was dripping red.

The officer called for medical aid. Along with the women, he tried to stop the bleeding.

Meanwhile, other officers interviewed two witnesses: another pair of women who had been walking a dog nearby.

The two women said they’d seen the man arguing with someone earlier. He’d walked away, stepped into an alley to relieve himself, walked back and started arguing again.

Losing the argument, the man had stomped off, stopped in front of the big window and thrown a punch.

The women who were helping the man said they’d been drinking at a nearby club earlier. They didn’t mention an argument. They said they heard the window shatter, but didn’t see the man punch it.

They said they ran forward to help him when they saw he was bleeding. The man kept walking away, they said — until they finally persuaded him to sit down.

Emergency medical technicians transported the man to Tacoma General Hospital. One officer arrived as the man was being treated, and cited him for vandalism and destruction of property. He gave the man a citation and ordered him to respond within 15 days. The man nodded as if he understood, according to the police report.

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