Man tries to run over Tacoma police sergeant, flees to Auburn, police say

A man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after leading police on two separate high-speed chases, trying to run over a Tacoma police sergeant and attempting to carjack a semitrailer driver at knifepoint in Auburn, police said.

The man is being held in Pierce County Jail on suspicion of three counts of first-degree assault and felony eluding, Tacoma police spokeswoman Shelbie Boyd said.

A Washington State Patrol trooper clocked the car driving about 90 mph going westbound on state Route 16 near Center Street, WSP spokesman Todd Bartolac said.

The trooper tried to pursue the vehicle for about 30 seconds, Bartolac said, but decided traffic was too thick to catch the vehicle and ended the chase.

A description of the vehicle was sent out over the radio to area agencies about 1:20 p.m.

A Tacoma police sergeant heard the description and saw a vehicle that matched it driving along Center Street, Boyd said. He followed it to an apartment complex on Center west of Tyler Street, where it turned in.

The sergeant got out of his patrol vehicle to try to arrest the driver, who then tried to back over the sergeant twice, Boyd said. The car hit metal poles supporting a parking structure instead.

The suspect drove off as the sergeant radioed for backup, Boyd said. Because it was deemed an attempted first-degree assault, Tacoma police could initiate a pursuit.

Just as shifts were changing, the suspect drove by Tacoma police headquarters at 3701 S. Pine St., Boyd said, with many officers free to pursue him as he drove northbound on Interstate 5.

“A lot of people were on I-5 at that time,” Boyd said. “It sounded pretty hairy.”

Tacoma police cut off the chase at the King County line, she said.

The driver of the fleeing vehicle then hit a semitrailer on an off-ramp of state Route 18, State Patrol spokesman Chris Webb said.

The man attempted to carjack the semitrailer driver at knifepoint, Boyd said, but he was unsuccessful and ran off.

The semitrailer driver followed the fleeing man and told police where he had gone, Webb said.

Auburn police arrested a man who matched the description given by the State Patrol about 2:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Auburn Way South, spokesman Steve Stocker said. He was turned over to Tacoma police, who took him to jail.

“We just caught the guy for them and said, ‘Here you go,’ ” Stocker said.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker