Short police chase knocks out power; driver who hit power pole arrested

A reckless driver led police on a short chase through Central Tacoma on Friday, clipping two other cars and slamming into a power transformer near South 12th Street and Union Avenue before officers took him into custody.

Seven bystanders were injured, one of them seriously, said Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool. The crash also knocked out power in the area. Tacoma Public Utilities sent a crew to the scene, but the damage appeared likely to leave residents in the dark for some time.

Cool said an officer saw the suspect vehicle about 6 p.m., driving recklessly near Sixth Avenue and South Stevens Street. The car ran a red light. The officer followed with lights and sirens.

The driver doubled back to 12th Street, driving at high speeds, Cool said. The officer lost sight of him momentarily, but saw the flash that followed the collision with the transformer. The driver slipped from his car and ran off, but civilians chased and cornered him as officers arrived. Tacoma firefighters responded to the scene and temporarily closed the intersection.

Cool said the driver was taken to an area hospital for a blood draw, which will establish whether drugs and/or alcohol played a role in the incident. Either way, she said, the man was arrested on suspicion of seven counts of vehicular assault.