BELLINGHAM - Police cars pursued a suspected shoplifter through Bellingham neighborhoods late Sunday, Dec. 16, until an officer intentionally crashed a patrol car into the fleeing vehicle.
Gary Richard Julius, 29, is accused of cutting a security tag off a Kmart-brand coat - worth less than $140 - at 9 p.m. before running out of the store at 1001 E. Sunset Drive, said Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young. A security guard saw the suspect leaving in a 1987 Buick Century.
Police spotted the car running a red light on Ellis Street, Young said. They pursued the car as it went through the Sunnyland and Lettered Streets neighborhoods. The car "blasted" through several stop signs and intersections at speeds up to 20 mph, Young said. The chase topped out at 55 mph - more than twice the speed limit in residential areas.
Six minutes into the chase an officer crashed a police cruiser into the car, on purpose, using a "pursuit immobilization technique," Young said.
Julius was arrested at the crash scene, at West Illinois Street near Northwest Avenue, within seconds. The alleged driver, Ryan Nathan Solomon, 33, and a passenger, later identified as Kelly Marcella Rose Julius, 27, ran from the car, Young said. They were caught and arrested on suspicion of obstructing law enforcement.
Solomon also faces charges of felony eluding and driving with a license suspended in the third degree. Gary Julius was the only suspect accused of stealing anything. The Juliuses had warrants out for their arrest in drug and theft cases.
All three suspects were booked into Whatcom County Jail.
In a separate active court case, Solomon is charged with breaking into an elderly woman's home on Abbott Street. Prosecutors alleged he meant to steal from the woman but had passed out "due to his high level of intoxication." The woman came home and found Solomon asleep in the garage.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2276.