WENATCHEE – A man was hospitalized late Monday night after he apparently set himself on fire following a police chase that began in East Wenatchee and ended in Wenatchee.
About 8:45 p.m., East Wenatchee police officers responded to the Wenatchee Valley Mall for a report of a man, later identified as Quan Ho Pham, threatening two women with a machete, the department said in a news release. He was also believed to be in possession of a firearm.
Pham, 48, allegedly kidnapped his daughter, who convinced him to stop by the mall, where she fled inside to a store where her mother worked, said Assistant Chief Ray Coble.
The man followed and held the mother and daughter at machete point before fleeing the mall, Coble said.
He left in a silver passenger car before police arrived, but was spotted by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies about 10:30 p.m. on Eastmont Avenue.
A pursuit ensued that led police through parts of East Wenatchee before crossing into Wenatchee. Police later found small empty bottles of gasoline along the chase route, leading authorities to believe he was dousing himself with gas during the pursuit, Coble said.
Spike strips were used unsuccessfully, prompting police to force the car to crash with a PIT maneuver as the car was nearing Les Schwab on North Wenatchee Avenue, the release said.
That’s when he set himself on fire, the release said. The car drove into the Sav-Mart parking lot and the man jumped out of the car.
“He was fully engulfed when he jumped out of the car,” Coble said. “It was bad.”
Officers extinguished the fire and took him into custody. He was on fire for roughly 30 seconds, Coble said.
He was transported to Central Washington Hospital and then airlifted to Harborview. The severity of his injuries is uncertain at this time, but Coble said, “It looks dire.”
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