Crime

Driver tied to Halloween power outage charged with vehicular assault

A 34-year-old man who Tacoma police say led them on a short chase Oct. 31 before colliding with two cars, hurting five people and shearing a utility pole, has been charged with vehicular assault.

Pierce County prosecutors also charged Jason Michael Haskins with failing to remain at an injury accident and attempting to elude a police vehicle.

Charging papers gave the following account of the incident:

Officers spotted Haskins’ Jeep Grand Cherokee running a red light at South 12th and Stevens streets about 6 p.m. His speed reached 60 miles per hour, double the limit in the area.

As officers pursued, the Jeep hit one car, then another, veered into a utility pole and struck a pair of parked cars.

Haskins left the Jeep and ran into an alley. Two people who saw the crash chased Haskins and held him down until officers arrived.

Haskins had a head injury and his speech slurred. He was taken to a local hospital, where officers interviewed him. He said he’d had “five shots” that evening. Asked if he thought his driving was affected, he said yes, charging papers state.

Two women, a man and two children were hurt in the multiple collisions. They were taken to local hospitals with various injuries, including a fractured wrist and concussion-like symptoms, court records state.

The sheared utility pole knocked out power in the Central Tacoma area for several hours.

Haskins was booked into the Pierce County Jail. At his arraignment, he entered a plea of not guilty. Bail was set at $100,000. He has prior felony convictions from Ohio and West Virginia, including multiple traffic offenses.

His trial in Pierce County is set for Dec. 23.

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