Oct. 5: “You need to arrest that drunk guy!”
The collective demand came from patrons of the burger joint in the 7200 block of Pacific Avenue. They’d just witnessed a drive-thru DUI. The driver had passed out at the pickup window. The time: a little after 3 a.m.
When the officer arrived, customers pointed toward a green 1996 Toyota Corolla straddling a pair of parking spaces marked for disabled drivers.
The officer flicked on his lights. The Toyota’s backup lights glowed, and the car started moving. The officer pulled forward to avoid a collision. The Toyota stopped. The officer walked toward the car. He saw the driver fling the keys into the back seat.
The driver was 23, with shoulder-length hair and a scraggly beard. His eyes watered and his words slurred. He answered questions slowly. He said he was trying to order food.
Why was he parked in a disabled space?
The man said he didn’t trust police. The officer cuffed him and drove him to Tacoma Police Department headquarters on South 38th Street for processing.
The man asked for an attorney. The officer hooked him up with a public defender.
Would the man submit to a breath-alcohol test? He said he would. The officer took measurements. Two readings came back: 0.179 and 0.183, both more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 for drivers.
Over the phone, the public defender said the man had requested a separate blood test by an independent expert. The officer asked the man if he still wanted it.
“No,” the man said. “I want a drink of water.”
The man was booked into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of drunken driving.
Oct. 5: The neighbor wasn’t going to tangle with a guy swinging a meat cleaver.
The dispatch call came in at 5 a.m. as a report of intimidation with a weapon. One couple were arguing loudly. The couple next door had tried to intervene. That was when the knife came out.
Officers drove to an address in the 700 block of South 88th Street. They spoke to the neighbor and her boyfriend. The boyfriend, who was 24, said the older couple next door had been arguing again. That was typical, he said, and they were always loud.
The boyfriend said he walked over to tell the couple to quiet down. He saw the man’s wife sitting in a car and the man standing next to it.
The man whirled and swung a knife, the boyfriend said, describing it as a meat cleaver. The boyfriend backed away to avoid the swing and called police.
“I ran away,” he told the officer. “I’m not gonna fight a dude in the dark with a knife.”
The officer spoke to the man’s wife. She was 37. She handed over the meat cleaver. She said she and her husband had been arguing all night. She said she went outside to drive away, but her husband’s car was blocking the driveway. She got in her own car, lit a cigarette and cracked the window a little.
Her husband followed, she said. He tried to force the window open. The wife saw the 24-year-old neighbor coming from behind. She sang out a warning; her husband had a knife. She saw her husband turn and hold it up, and she saw the neighbor leave.
The husband was 39. His English was weak, but he understood the questions officers were asking.
He admitted arguing with his wife. He said the 24-year-old neighbor had beaten him up a week earlier. He said he didn’t have a knife in his hand, just paper. He said he’d done nothing wrong.
“He hit me once, I kill him,” the man said, referring to the neighbor.
Officers booked the husband into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of intimidation with a weapon.
Oct. 5: Weed may be legal, but not for minors, and not for a group of teenagers smoking at an elementary school.
The dispatch call started as a trespassing report: a group of suspicious people at Northeast Elementary School in Northeast Tacoma.
Three officers zoomed to the school and looked around. School was out; it was 5:22 p.m. The officers heard voices near an open-air stairwell and a door to the interior that was supposed to be locked. One officer — assigned to the school — opened the door.
Another noticed a boy running away and trying to clamber over a concrete wall. The officer caught the boy’s eye. The boy stopped climbing and threw something over the wall. The officer looked to see what the stuff was — he found plastic baggies, a towel, rolling papers, a scale, a pipe and few crumbs of weed. In the stairwell, the officers found more of the same, including an 18-inch bong.
The officers netted six people: two males, four females. All gave off the same smoky aroma. All were students at Stadium High School.
Officers asked the group how they got inside the school. They said they climbed a drainpipe.
Officers asked if the students realized they could be charged with burglary. The students said they didn’t and said they were sorry.
Officers cited all six students for unlawful possession of marijuana, released them to their parents, and relayed the information to the principal of Stadium High School.