BELLINGHAM - A man whose flight from police ended in a crash that killed a deputy in 2001 faces new driving-related charges from the Whatcom County Prosecutor's Office.
Adrian G. Sassen Van Elsloo was charged Aug. 23 with possession of hydrocodone, hydromorphone, driving under the influence and driving with a revoked or suspended license, after crashing his car on a northbound Interstate 5 on-ramp, according to court documents.
The car went into a muddy ditch the early hours of July 23 at the I-5 on-ramp at Slater Road, documents state.
When Washington State Patrol troopers arrived, Sassen Van Elsloo, 30, said his girlfriend had been the driver and had run away because she was intoxicated, according to documents. The keys to the car were in Sassen Van Elsloo's front pocket, according to the documents.
Sassen Van Elsloo tried to hide two bags as troopers arrived at the scene: One was found behind a cinder block on the east side of the road, and troopers saw him try to throw the other bag into the ditch, according to documents.
Inside the bags were various pills, including 49 tablets of Lortab and 12 tablets of Vicodin, which both contain hydrocodone, as well as 48 Dilaudid pills, which contain hydromorphone, documents allege.
While being treated at St. Joseph hospital, Sassen Van Elsloo told troopers he had been heading northbound and "just went off the road." He said he hit his head on the top left of the vehicle and on the airbag. When troopers told him the only airbag that went off in the crash was from the wheel on the driver's side, he simply replied, "Oh," according to court documents.
Sassen Van Elsloo was sentenced to more than four years in prison in 2002 for hit-and-run and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. A Whatcom County Sheriff's deputy in training was driving the patrol vehicle that chased Sassen Van Elsloo for speeding on Samish Way. Deputy Matt Herzog, seated in the passenger side of the patrol car, was killed when the trainee lost control and crashed into a ditch, striking a tree.
Sassen Van Elsloo's criminal history also includes convictions for second-degree vehicle prowl, violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, possession of drug paraphernalia, second-degree robbery, obstructing law enforcement, and fourth-degree assault.
He is scheduled to make his first court appearance for the new charges at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7.