Crime

Girlfriend crashes car into Birch Bay building to end kidnapping, deputies say

Sept. 15, 2013, booking mug of Michael Lavon Eisenman on a probation violation in Salina, Kansas.
Sept. 15, 2013, booking mug of Michael Lavon Eisenman on a probation violation in Salina, Kansas.

A woman intentionally rammed her car into the wall of a Shell station to try to escape her boyfriend who was threatening to kill her Wednesday, April 20, officials said.

Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies were alerted around 10 a.m. the couple had come into the Bay Center Market at 8050 Harborview Road. A clerk reported that the woman — who appeared to have been beaten — mouthed the words: “Help me.”

They drove off in a green car, said Chief Criminal Deputy Doug Chadwick.

Five minutes later a dark green Oldsmobile crashed into the wall of a Shell station at 3425 Birch Bay-Lynden Road. According to the sheriff’s office, a woman jumped out of the driver’s seat yelling, “He’s going to kill me!”

A man fled from the passenger seat and tried to run south on Portal Way. Once sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found the man on the ground, surrounded by “a large group of citizens” that had detained him, according to the sheriff’s office.

Michael Lavon Eisenman, 24, declined to speak with deputies about what happened. He was booked into jail on suspicion of assault in the second degree, kidnapping in the first degree and felony harassment.

The woman, 21, had injuries to her face and bruising on her body. She reported her boyfriend might have a gun on him, but no gun was found. A knife, however, was recovered from the car, Chadwick said.

The woman told deputies she had just started dating Eisenman — perhaps about a week or two earlier, Chadwick said — and that Tuesday night he beat her and threatened to kill her. They’d gotten into an argument, she reported, and he pulled out a knife and refused to let her leave the home on Leeside Drive in Birch Bay.

Over the hours that followed he made “multiple threats to kill her,” according to the sheriff’s office. Eventually, she reported, she fled out a window, but he found her and forced her to return.

On Wednesday morning, April 20, Eisenman told the victim he wanted to drive to Seattle for an event celebrating cannabis culture, on a date considered to be a holiday by many marijuana users, Chadwick said. As they left the Bay Center Market, Eisenman told her to drive toward the freeway and told her he was going to kill her — and that he only way she would get away would be to roll the car and kill him, according to the sheriff’s office.

Witnesses told deputies the car accelerated as it crashed into the Shell station. The car took severe damage to its front end, but neither person inside was seriously hurt.

Court records suggest Eisenman has no felony record in Washington state, though he was cited on a shoplifting charge on April 3 in Bellingham.

Newspaper records from Mitchell, South Dakota, and Salina, Kansas, show Eisenman has faced charges of domestic violence, felony domestic battery and violating probation over the past few years.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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