Man found hiding up tree after Ferndale-area car chase


FERNDALE - A Whatcom County man was found hiding up a tree after a car chase that began on Interstate 5 and ended when he crashed a truck in a swamp at the end of a gravel driveway early Wednesday morning, April 9, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Thomas J. Feely, 33, was allegedly driving a Dodge Ram truck north on I-5 about 2 miles south of the Grandview exit at about 1:15 a.m. when a trooper saw the truck swerve and change lanes without signaling, said Trooper Brandon Lee.

The trooper put on his lights and then added sirens when the truck didn't pull over. The truck exited at Grandview and rolled through the stop sign before continuing west on Grandview, Lee said.

From there, the truck hit speeds up to 90 mph and officers from Ferndale, Lummi Nation and the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office were called in to help with the pursuit.

The chase lasted for nearly 15 minutes on roads south of Grandview. The truck drove over spike strips at Mountain View and Elder roads before driving down a gravel driveway in the 6200 block of Olson Road. It went off the driveway and into brush and muck, and crashed into a tree stump. Feely ran from the truck, losing both shoes, Lee said.

Bellingham police dog Justice was able to track Feely through thick woods and swamp and found him trying to hide about 12 feet up a tree.

Troopers believe that Feely was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, though blood tests are pending.

Feely's past offenses include a drive-by shooting at a Ferndale house when he was 17, as well as second-degree assault, drug charges and attempting to elude.

Reach Zoe Fraley at or 360-756-2803. Read the Dispatcher Blog at or get updates on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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