A Thursday evening police chase along southbound Interstate 5 from Kelso ended with the driver being shot by a Washington State Patrol trooper and Cowlitz Tribal Police officer.
According to statements released late Thursday and early Friday morning from the State Patrol and the Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team, the chase began along the freeway in Kelso at approximately 7:15 p.m. when a trooper spotted a vehicle that had fled from police during an attempted traffic stop.
The chase began near milepost 39 and continued south for approximately 23 miles. According to the news release, the vehicle “was traveling at speeds over 100 mph and made many unsafe movements while fleeing the troopers.”
Authorities deployed spike strips as the vehicle passed Woodland, but the attempt was unsuccessful, the response team said.
The chase ended abruptly when the vehicle took Exit 16, which serves La Center, and collided with another vehicle at the top of the off-ramp.
The response team statement said pursuing troopers were joined by an officer from the Cowlitz Tribal Police Department as they confronted the male driver and female passenger inside the vehicle.
The troopers and the Cowlitz Police officer shot the driver, according to the statements. Further details on what led up to the shooting were not disclosed.
A SWAT team and negotiators were called to the scene, according to emergency radio traffic monitored at The Columbian. Medical personnel were summoned at 8:14 p.m., according to dispatch records.
The female passenger got out of the vehicle and was taken into custody, but the wounded driver, who was conscious and alert, refused to get out of the vehicle. The statements said the driver told officers that he had a firearm and that he was ready to die.
The police statements said the driver was then seen repeatedly using a meth pipe to ingest a substance believed to be methamphetamine.
After approximately 20 minutes of negotiations, the driver got out of the vehicle and was taken into custody. He was given first aid by law enforcement before being transferred to medical personnel for continued treatment and transport to an area hospital.
The statements say the man is in serious but stable condition. They also say a firearm was recovered from the man’s vehicle.
No other details about the incident, including the name of the driver or the passenger, were released.
The Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team will investigate this incident, according to the State Patrol. The probe will be led by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Team.