A freeway driver suspected of driving while intoxicated took a Washington State Patrol trooper on a chase across Spokane late Tuesday, ending when the trooper caused the fleeing driver’s vehicle to spin out on Pacific Avenue in Browne’s Addition.
No one was injured in the pursuit, but two parked vehicles were damaged.
Robert Shawn Beck, 42, was booked into Spokane County Jail for a felony charge of eluding a police officer, driving while intoxicated and first-degree driving on a suspended license as a habitual offender, which is a gross misdemeanor.
Trooper Troy Briggs, public information officer for WSP in Spokane, said the trooper involved in the chase made the right choice in performing the disabling maneuver because it ended a risk of injury or greater property damage.
Briggs said the property damage was unfortunate, but the trooper brought a dangerous situation to an end.
“The fact is (Beck) didn’t hit anybody and nobody was injured,” Briggs said.
The incident began about 8:30 p.m. after two motorists on Interstate 90 reported an erratic driver going westbound.
A trooper spotted the driver in the westbound lanes between Freya and Altamont streets, but the driver took off at a high speed, exiting into downtown Spokane at Lincoln Street and then going west on Second Avenue.
The trooper briefly lost sight of the driver, but spotted him again at Sunset Boulevard and Hemlock Street, Briggs said.
The chase resumed up Hemlock into Browne’s Addition, a heavily populated neighborhood with a series of narrow streets. On Pacific Avenue, which is relatively wide, the trooper pulled the disabling maneuver – a pursuit intervention technique, or PIT maneuver – between Spruce and Hemlock streets. The spun-out vehicle collided with a parked car.
That wasn’t enough to end the chase. The driver accelerated into a yard, striking a stump and a second parked car, which stopped him, Briggs said.
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