The handcuffed driver of a stolen car escaped from custody late Thursday when officers left him unattended as they chased his fleeing passenger, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.
Police are asking for help identifying the man who was driving a purple Mercury Tracer that had been reported stolen in a residential burglary when Officers Mark Benner and Jason Karnitz spotted him at Pines and Cherry about 11:15 p.m., Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.
The car stopped in the dead end area of a parking lot and the passenger fled on foot. Benner chased after him, and Karntiz handcuffed the driver and told him to stay in the car as he joined the chase, but the officers returned to find the suspect gone. Neither officer knew his name.
The passenger, Tevan Thomas Williams, 21, was arrested and police found the stolen car owner’s identification cards on him and a loaded handgun in his backpack, as well as other stolen items.
Williams was booked into jail on charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, unlawful possession of personal identification, second-degree possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of a payment device, residential burglary and obstructing a police investigation.
Court records show Williams has a felony conviction for second-degree robbery in 2009, which prohibits him from possessing firearms.
The driver is described as white and in his late teens or early 20s. He was wearing a red shirt, light-blue shorts and white running shoes, has brown hair and is about 6-feet tall, police said.
Anyone with information on his identity is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter