Crime

Driver sentenced in high-speed Ferndale car chase

A man who led police on a 105 mph car chase near Ferndale in October has been sentenced to more than one year in prison.

Dustin Tyler Owen, 27, was sentenced to one year and four months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of attempting to elude police, possession of a stolen vehicle and second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, according to documents filed in Whatcom Superior Court on Thursday, Feb. 19.

On Oct. 2, 2014, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Gum and a Ferndale policeman located a stolen Subaru Legacy in the parking lot of the Haggen grocery store in Ferndale. As they approached the stolen car, Owen put it in reverse, backed into Gum’s right hip, and crashed into the policeman’s fully marked patrol car.

As Owen sped out of the parking lot, he rammed the stolen Subaru into another police car. More police pursued with sirens blaring as the car entered Interstate 5 southbound. The Subaru reached speeds of 105 mph on I-5 while passing cars on the right and left shoulders, according to charging papers.

Owen then crossed the median and drove the wrong way into oncoming traffic before crashing off the road near a fence. He got out and climbed the fence as an officer fired a Taser at him.

After climbing the fence, Owen looked at the officer, kicked off his shoes and ran into the woods near Waldron Road, according to the charges.

Detective Gum found Owen in the woods and arrested him.

Owen’s criminal history reveals a series of driving offenses. He was convicted in King County of attempting to elude police in February 2014. Just a week before the Ferndale car chase, he was being held in King County Jail for violating probation.

The year before, he was convicted of reckless driving and driving under the influence in King County. He also has convictions in Western Washington of negligent driving, hit and run of unattended property and first-degree criminal trespass, according to sentencing papers.

As part of his sentence, Owen must undergo an alcohol or substance abuse evaluation.

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