Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Trial: Deputy says ‘most scary moment of my career’ was being shot at before 2023 police chase that ended in crash

John DeFord, of K&H Facility Services, center, walks through the rubble after a vehicle crashed into a wall three bricks deep at the corner of Second Avenue and Lincoln Street in the morning on Aug. 3 in Spokane. The police chase started in Airway Heights. The driver was arrested at the scene and multiple police cars were reported damaged.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Evann Flanagan sat on the witness stand Tuesday as he described “the most scary moment of my career” – getting shot at while in his patrol car by someone fleeing from law enforcement in August of last year.

“I saw him in a standard shooting stance… And observed muzzle flash,” Flanagan said. The moment was so high stress, he said, he didn’t hear the rounds.

Flanagan, who has been a Spokane deputy for a year and a half, testified on behalf of the state of Washington on Tuesday in the case against 54-year-old Robert Talley. Talley, a 21-time convicted felon, is on trial for attempted murder, assault and eluding deputies last year after crashing into a wall downtown when he allegedly led a high-speed chase down the interstate.

Flanagan told Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy on Tuesday that he was originally following a black SUV in Airway Heights that had stolen plates. The SUV sped away from Flanagan, driving into oncoming traffic and almost crashing head-on with another police car, Flanagan said. He stopped his pursuit for the safety of others and began patrolling the area until he saw the same SUV parked near Longhorn BBQ at 7611 W. Sunset Highway, just to the north of the Geiger Arms apartments. He saw the suspect, identified as Talley, trying to flee from his patrol car.

Flanagan rounded a corner and saw Talley standing there in his “shooting stance,” he said, saw the flash, and called for backup. No rounds hit him or his car.

“I did not fire back at him because I didn’t have a safe angle,” Flanagan said.

Talley allegedly got back into the SUV and fled east on Highway 2, speeding over 100 mph in the wrong direction towards downtown, according to Nagy. Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the high-speed chase until the black SUV crashed directly into a brick wall on the corner of Second Avenue and Lincoln Street.

Talley’s defense attorney Kyle Zeller told the jury his client had alcohol, methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine in his system at the time.

“August 2 was like every other day for Mr. Talley. You’ll hear he drinks daily. He drinks from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep,” Zeller said. “…He doesn’t remember anything after that until he wakes up at a hospital on August 3… He had never seen that firearm before. And he’ll tell you that it’s not his firearm.”