A state trooper was pushed out of a moving car on Interstate 90 on Mercer Island early Wednesday, and the suspect was tracked down later that day to a Seattle apartment, where police found evidence of a large-scale identity-theft operation, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Around 1 a.m. Wednesday, a trooper pulled over a vehicle driving east on I-90, just west of the East Mercer Way exit on Mercer Island, Trooper Rick Johnson wrote in a Thursday news release. The trooper suspected the driver was impaired, and after performing field-sobriety tests, he went to place the driver under arrest. That’s when the driver instigated a fight on the right shoulder of the highway that continued as the driver got back into his vehicle, the release says.
Johnson said by phone the trooper attempted to use a Taser on the driver and managed to get his foot on the brake, but his foot then slipped off the brake, and the driver was able to move the car about 200 feet to the east. The car was traveling 25 to 30 mph when the trooper was shoved out of the car and slid 40 feet on his back, into the second and third lanes of traffic. The driver sped off.
Another motorist who apparently saw the fight unfold put the hazard lights on and used a four-door sedan to protect the trooper and prevent him from being hit by a car, Johnson said. He said investigators want to speak with that person and encouraged anyone with information to call the State Patrol at 425-401-7788.
Before fighting with the trooper, Johnson said the suspect mentioned an address in Seattle but gave the trooper what turned out to be a stolen ID from Texas. With the help of Seattle police and the state Department of Corrections (DOC), troopers went to the address, where a felon under DOC supervision had an apartment, he said.
It turned out the 31-year-old man was wanted on outstanding DOC felony warrants and was arrested, Johnson said. He was booked into the King County Jail on Wednesday afternoon on the warrants and investigation of assault for shoving the trooper, jail records show. Inside his apartment, police found meth and evidence of a large-scale, identity-theft operation.
Johnson said the trooper, who is a little sore but otherwise OK, is taking a couple of days off.