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Driver, 27, charged with 2 felony assaults after high-speed chase from Ferndale

A driver faces four felonies on charges he led police on a 105 mph wrong-way car chase near Ferndale last week.

A Whatcom County Sheriff’s detective and a Ferndale policeman recognized a stolen car parked outside the Ferndale Haggen grocery store Thursday afternoon, Oct. 2. A man in the driver’s seat, identified as Dustin Tyler Owen, 27, shifted the bronze ’90 Subaru Legacy into reverse as police walked toward him, according to charges filed this week in Superior Court.

As the Subaru backed up, the detective, Jason Gum, tried to jump out of its path but the car struck him in the right hip. The Subaru kept reversing until it hit the Ferndale officer’s empty patrol car, causing minor damage. On the way out of the parking lot, the Subaru bumped into a second, occupied Ferndale police car that was blocking the exit to Main Street.

Once the driver reached Interstate 5, he passed cars on the right and left shoulders at speeds up to 105 mph, according to the charges. The southbound Subaru briefly crossed over into northbound lanes before crashing off the road in the grassy shoulder. Owen jumped out and hopped a chain-link fence toward Pacific Highway, police said. An officer fired a Taser at him, but the fleeing man didn’t stop. He looked back, kicked off his shoes and kept running. Detective Gum chased Owen into the woods near Waldron Road, found him and arrested him.

Owen is accused of attempting to elude police, possessing a stolen vehicle and — for striking Gum and the occupied patrol car — two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, the Subaru.

Superior Court Commissioner Leon F. Henley set bail at $250,000. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 10.

Owen had been released from King County Jail about a week before the chase. He’d been held there for a few days for violating probation, after he pleaded guilty in another felony eluding case.

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