The coordinated efforts of Washington State Patrol (WSP) troopers, WSP aviation and allied law enforcement agencies lead to the arrest of a reckless motorcycle rider who eluded troopers across five counties (including Mason County) Saturday, July 20, 2019.
The rider, a 38-year-old Newport, Oregon man, was seen driving a green 2008 Kawasaki motorcycle eastbound on U.S. 101 six miles west of Sequim traveling 76 mph in a posted 55 mph zone and failed to yield to a WSP trooper. The trooper pursued, but terminated four minutes later after observing the rider continue at a high rate and utilize the oncoming lane and right shoulder to pass other vehicles.
Traffic was heavy in the area due to the Sequim Lavender Festival weekend. A WSP Aviation Trooper flying a Cessna 206 equipped with a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera was in the area working a traffic emphasis and was able to observe the rider, providing updates to law enforcement on the ground. Troopers followed in the direction of the rider but did not re-engage the pursuit, staying out of sight of the rider with no lights or sirens activated.
The WSP Aviation trooper observed the rider through Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, Thurston and Pierce counties until they spotted the rider abandon the motorcycle in Steilacoom.
The rider fled on foot, and was found later by Steilacoom Public Safety Department officers. The rider was transported back to Clallam County and booked in Clallam County Jail for felony eluding, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license out of Oregon.
“The WSP takes vehicle pursuits very serious, and weigh the safety of suspect apprehension with the safety of the motoring public,” said WSP District 8 Captain James Mjor. “In this case, we are pleased with the decisions of the troopers involved, the tools utilized such as aviation, and our partnerships with allied agencies that lead to one more dangerous person being removed from the roadways.”