Crime

Police say scanner helped speeding driver avoid being stopped

A man police chased at high speed Sunday from Lakewood to Lewis County on Interstate 5 had a police scanner in the car that might have helped him avoid spike strips, prosecutors said.

His car also had a rear license plate frame with wording that insulted law enforcement, prosecutors said.

Michael Hart, 41, pleaded not guilty Monday to attempting to elude police, fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest.

Charging papers give this account:

A Tillicum woman reported she was the victim of domestic violence assault by Hart, and, as Lakewood police investigated, Hart drove by about 4 p.m. Sunday in Tillicum.

Officers yelled for him to stop, and he initially pulled over when the officers turned on their patrol car’s emergency lights. Then he sped away and headed onto southbound I-5.

As he drove down the freeway, he almost ran a motorcyclist off the road, and drove 90 miles per hour as he passed other drivers. When he reached the Marvin Way exit in Thurston County, he was going more than 100 mph.

Hart hit a spike strip north of exit 88 near the Lewis County border and pulled to the shoulder when his car’s tires deflated.

A police scanner found in his car was broadcasting Washington State Patrol radio communication, which probably is how he avoided other spike strips that had been set, police said.

As part of the investigation, an officer took a photo of the profane license plate frame that insulted cops because it showed Hart’s “mindset regarding the law,” the officer said.

Court records did not list an attorney for Hart.

Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $80,000. Should he make bail, among the conditions of his release is that he drive only the posted speed limit.

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