Crime

Undersheriff: Custer man on meth leads cops on 80 mph chase

A man high on meth led deputies on an 80 mph chase up Guide Meridian on Monday afternoon, Oct. 26, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

The man, later identified as Darren Andrew Nixon, 28, of Custer, broke into a tan Mercury Cougar in a church parking lot around noon in the 4600 block of Guide Meridian. He had been walking around the parking lot for about an hour, and it looked like he was high on drugs, witnesses reported to the sheriff’s office.

Two sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene, the Christ Community Church, and learned the man had driven off in the car, headed north on the Guide.

Deputies caught up to the driver and tried to pull him over. Instead, the car sped up to about 80 mph, cutting through a parking lot at Guide Meridian and Smith Road, then turning west on Smith, said Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks. The deputies ended the pursuit due to the danger to the public.

However, moments later the car was spotted again, going slower, around the speed limit, and deputies again tried to pull it over. Eventually, a deputy used a PIT maneuver — tapping the front corner of his patrol car into the back corner of the Mercury, to make it spin out — and got the car to stop at 12:40 p.m. in the 1100 block of West Smith.

Nixon was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, attempting to elude and driving with a suspended license. He appeared to be high on methamphetamine, Parks said.

The car had been parked at the church by a family member of its registered owner. Details about how the thief broke in, and how he managed to start the car, weren’t immediately available.

Nixon has a recent history of drug abuse. He was arrested earlier this month, on Oct. 9, on suspicion of breaking into and ransacking a car in the 1300 block of Lakeway Drive. Police found syringes and a Ziploc bag of black tar heroin in his backpack when he was arrested, according to court records.

Nixon pleaded guilty last week to possession in a plea deal; the vehicle prowling charge was dropped. He’d already served his 15-day jail sentence, so he was released Oct. 21.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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