Crime

Man arrested after I-5 chase tops 100 mph through Ferndale

A man was arrested after he led police down Interstate 5 at speeds over 100 mph, slammed into a patrol car and drove into oncoming I-5 traffic Wednesday night, Aug. 5, according to police.

The car chase ended when a Dunkin & Bush worker painting the Nooksack River Bridge pulled a company vehicle in front of the fleeing car, said Dunkin & Bush manager John Van Miert.

The chase began when a Ferndale police officer tried to pull over the driver of a Dodge Neon for faulty brake lights and a missing license plate near Grandview Road and Portal Way around 8 p.m. Wednesday, said Lt. Matt Huffman.

The Dodge driver, Brandon R. Heggem, took off and entered I-5 traveling south at speeds topping 100 mph, Huffman said. He then took the Main Street exit and drove west to Portal Way, where he crashed into a patrol car.

The officer inside the patrol car was not injured, Huffman said, and the extent of the damage was unavailable Thursday.

Several Ferndale police cars, along with Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies and state troopers, assisted in the chase. The Dodge re-entered the freeway at Portal Way and continued south, but crossed the median near Slater Road and drove into oncoming traffic, Huffman said.

Heggem, 23, turned the Dodge around and headed north on the freeway. At that point, Dunkin & Bush workers saw the car speeding toward them, said Van Miert. There were five workers on lifts painting the Nooksack River Bridge, he said. To prevent a potentially tragic crash, one worker pulled a company-issued vehicle in the way of the Dodge.

The collision stopped the car chase. Heggem ran out of the car, and he was finally detained with the help of police dogs, Huffman said.

Van Miert would not name the worker who pulled in front of Heggem.

Heggem was driving with a suspended license, and he had three warrants out of Bellingham for shoplifting, negligent driving and failure to appear in court for a criminal trespass. After the car chase, Ferndale police booked him into Whatcom County Jail on additional charges of attempting to elude a police vehicle, hit and run of an attended vehicle, third-degree assault and reckless endangerment, Huffman said.

Heggem did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Huffman said. He has no felony criminal history in Washington.

Reach Wilson Criscione at 360-756-2803 or wilson.criscione@bellinghamherald.com.

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