Driver eludes police, ditches stolen car and flees

Merced Sun-Star

Police chased the driver of a stolen car from Bellingham north into rural Whatcom County on Wednesday evening, but the driver ditched his car and eluded officers, authorities said.

It began at 5:50 p.m. when a patrol officer saw an older-model red Chevrolet – alternately described as a pickup or station wagon – that had been reported stolen in Skagit County, said Bellingham police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

“I don’t have any details on that case,” Vander Yacht said. “We will be working with Skagit to see if we can connect a particular driver with the stolen car.”

According to police radio dispatches, speeds approached 100 mph at times as police officers, Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies and Washington State Patrol troopers scrambled to get into position to stop the fleeing driver on rain-slick roads as darkness fell during the evening commute. The driver headed north on Hannegan Road and worked his way west on two-lane roads toward Guide Meridian.

Whatcom County sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Hester, in charge of investigations, said the driver stopped on Guide Meridian between Hemmi and Ten Mile roads, then jumped out and ran. A female passenger was detained and questioned, but not arrested, he said. The car, which might have been a Suburban, was stolen from Bow, he said.

“We had a canine unit that was tracking, trying to find the driver,” Hester said.

Skagit County sheriff’s officials had no information on the chase or a burglary in which a car was reported stolen.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty