Man leads State Patrol on chase through Skagit, Whatcom counties

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The Washington State Patrol is the state police agency for Washington.
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The Washington State Patrol is the state police agency for Washington.

A 34-year-old man was arrested after he led Washington State Patrol troopers on a pursuit through both Skagit and Whatcom counties Thursday night.

Robert Michael Gora was booked into the Skagit County Jail on suspicion of DUI, attempting to elude and first-degree driving with a suspended license.

State Patrol troopers attempted to stop a 2005 Dodge Neon for speeding and weaving between lanes at the intersection of Freeway Drive and College Way in Mount Vernon around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Trooper Heather Axtman.

Spike strips were approved to go out on State Route 11 in Skagit, but were then moved to Nulle Road, Axtman said. It was unclear whether the strips were actually thrown, she said.

Troopers were told the suspect in the vehicle was possibly involved in a drive-by shooting in Skagit County, Axtman said. There were no witnesses to an actual shooting, but some said they heard gunshots, she said.

The car reached speeds of 90 mph on Interstate 5 during the chase, Axmtan said, before it exited onto Lake Samish Way.

The car continued, driving up to 60 mph on Old Samish Road, where the speed limit is 40 mph, according to Axtman and Whatcom County Public Works.

The driver, who was later identified as Gora, was stopped at a driveway in the 800 block of Old Samish Road and was booked into jail shortly after 1 a.m. Friday. A male passenger in the car was not arrested, Axtman said.

A search warrant was obtained for the car and drug paraphernalia was found inside, Axtman said.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.