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Dozen Patrol Cars Join Long Chase Through 3 Counties Suspect Drives Down Tracks After Hitting Spike Strip

Sun., Nov. 30, 1997

A Spokane man led officers from three counties on a wild chase late Friday that ended with his arrest north of Newport, Wash., authorities said.

Thomas W. Brown, 33, is facing charges for eluding police, driving under the influence and possession of drugs with intent to deliver.

The chase started at 11 p.m. in Rathdrum, Idaho, when an officer tried unsuccessfully to make a traffic stop.

In a purple, 1979 Datsun 280Z, Brown eluded police on dirt roads before driving north on Highway 41 at speeds of 60 to 70 mph, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities said Brown roared through the southwestern corner of Bonner County with a dozen patrol cars on his tail before crossing the border between Old Town, Idaho, and Newport.

The car ran over a spike strip placed across Highway 20 by Pend Oreille County sheriff’s deputies.

But even with deflated tires, Brown kept rolling. He maneuvered his way through a roadblock - nearly hitting a deputy - and continued north on the highway, a sheriff’s dispatcher said.

“It’s not like television,” the dispatcher said. “You don’t want people getting killed with cars smashing into roadblocks. There’s a way to get out of it. He chose not to stop and kept going.”

Police said Brown turned onto Baker Lake Road and started driving along railroad tracks at about 25 mph.

“An officer tried to pursue the suspect on foot, but flying rocks and gravel from the train tracks forced him back in his car to continue the chase,” the dispatcher said.

The 45-minute chase ended when Brown left the tracks and his car got stuck in an embankment. He was arrested without incident and taken to the Pend Oreille County Jail.

, DataTimes

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