Victim was letting his truck warm and talking to co-workers when Friday’s chase began

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The Bellingham Police Department enforces the law within Bellingham city limits.

Friday’s wild pursuit of a stolen truck on Interstate 5 through parts of Whatcom and northern Skagit County started with what seemed like an innocent conversation between co-workers in the York neighborhood.

The Washington State Patrol booked Matthew Garrett Fox, 27 and whom court documents list as transient, into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of attempting to elude a police vehicle, DUI, possession of a stolen vehicle and two counts each of possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm.

According to information provided Tuesday to The Bellingham Herald by Lt. Claudia Murphy, Bellingham Police received a report of a maroon Ford F350 stolen at approximately 4:34 p.m. Friday, June 28, in the 1600 block of Grant Street.

The owner of the truck started it to let it warm up and was standing in a parking lot speaking to some co-workers, when another co-worker yelled at a man to get out of the truck, Murphy said. The owner told police he then saw a man with a bald head and red beard drive off in the truck.

The owner immediately reported the truck and the two guns he had stored inside stolen, Murphy said.

At approximately 5:53 p.m., Washington State Patrol got reports of a truck doing doughnuts on the on-ramp of I-5 and Guide Meridian.

According to information provided by to The Herald by Axtman, callers also reported seeing the truck heading southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Bellis Fair Mall, before crossing over to southbound lanes and doing more doughnuts as it crossed the median.

Troopers soon spotted the truck driven by Fox near the Samish Way exit and pursued it southbound into Skagit County at speeds as fast as 95 mph, Axtman seen, and Fox was seen stripping during the chase.

Troopers deployed a spike strip near the Bow Hill Road exit and the chase finally concluded near the Cooke Road exit in Skagit County, where Axtman said Fox was taken into custody without further incident. The two stolen guns were reportedly found inside the truck.

Only three days earlier, Fox pleaded guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court to second-degree taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission after he was stopped June 6 at the Peace Arch Point of Entry attempting to cross the U.S.-Canadian border in a blue Toyota sedan reported stolen out of Seattle, according to court documents. Fox was sentenced to 30 days of electronic home monitoring.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.