Cpl. Ronald Van Tassel
Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 11:18 a.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 31, officers responded to Division and Augusta for a suspicious vehicle. As the first Officer arrived on scene, the driver of the vehicle started the car and rammed the police vehicle. The vehicle then fled the area at a high rate of speed. A couple miles later another officer spotted that same vehicle, still driving in a reckless manner and showing signs that the driver was impaired. There was a short pursuit, but the officer stopped chasing due to safety concerns for the public. The vehicle was located by Friendship Park, which is just north of Eagles Ice Arena. Two males were located a short time later and detained. Both had warrants and were charged for various crimes, including possession of the stolen car they were driving. The driver was also obviously under the influence of drugs and was charged with DUI. The vehicle the suspect was driving was a white Honda Accord and the incident happened just before 5:30 pm. We are asking that if during this incident the vehicle came close to hitting you or forced you off the roadway, that you call crime check and give a statement. Reference report #2019-20165977.
During that incident, a vehicle collision happened at Alberta and Columbia. Officers discovered that one of the drivers rear-ended another car that was waiting to make a left hand turn. That driver showed obvious signs of impairment and was arrested for DUI. A preliminary breath sample showed he was more than two times over the legal limit.
A couple hours later there was a crash on Upriver Dr. in the Spokane Valley. One of the vehicles had fled the scene and a witness followed. The suspect vehicle had several more minor collisions as it drove down the roadway. The vehicle finally came to a stop when it slammed into another car at Mission and Greene, which disabled the suspect’s vehicle. That driver was later arrested for DUI.
As officers and deputies were on scene investigating that, they heard the loud distinct sound of a diesel truck rapidly accelerating. They then heard the squealing of tires and looked up to see a large truck pulling a 23-foot pontoon boat. That truck was south on Greene and drove past 6 police cars (emergency lights on), a fire truck and an ambulance. The truck ended up cutting vehicles off and swerving over so hard while peeling out that the boat had drifted out sideways. The truck continued over the bridge going south. Officers witnessed the truck strike the center median. Officers made a traffic stop on the truck, which contained a husband and wife, their friend and four juveniles. During the course of the investigation, officers learned that the group was at the lake and the friend started to drive home. After a short distance, the husband pointed out that the friend was too drunk and they swapped seats. However, both males were too drunk to be operating a motor vehicle. Both of them were arrested for DUI and both for 4 counts of Reckless endangerment, which is charged when a DUI driver has juveniles in the vehicle. The husband was also charged for Reckless Driving for his actions that officers witnessed, which according to him was all brought upon because somebody flipped him off.
On Sunday the incidents did not slow down. One person was arrested in the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot for DUI and possession of drugs.
The above incidents highlight the fact that DUI’s still plague our community and many others. In Spokane, people have lost their lives or have lifelong physical injuries due to DUI collisions. Over the years, countless dollars in property damage have been spent to fix the things these drivers crash into. We have two Officers dedicated to only doing DUI patrols. Even as I type this up, there is a collision at Pittsburg / Glass where a driver crashed into two parked vehicles and the female is under arrest for DUI and Reckless Endangerment due to her 8 year old child being in the car. At the same time, an Officer just located a collision and 29th / Perry and he advised that the driver is under arrest for DUI. Minutes after that, an Officer was driving north on Hamilton by the Safeway. A large truck did a U-turn in front of him and the two had a collision. The female driver of that truck was arrested for DUI as well.
Law Enforcement can’t stop all the DUI drivers. Please remember that if you are going to drink, have a way to get home. If your friends or loved ones are drinking, please don’t let them drive, it could be the last thing they do.
Officer John O'Brien