A wanted man from Bellingham tried to ram a sheriff’s deputy with his car at the end of a high-speed chase that started in Birch Bay late Tuesday, Aug. 2, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
Eladio Ernesto Martinez-Ramos, 33, was fueling his gray 1990 Honda Accord around 10 p.m. at a gas station at 4485 Birch Bay-Lynden Road, said Undersheriff Jeff Parks. A sheriff’s deputy recognized him and knew Martinez-Ramos was wanted on a warrant from the state Department of Corrections.
The driver left the parking lot and drove north to Harborview Drive, and when the deputy turned on his patrol car’s lights and sirens, the Honda accelerated to 80 mph, Parks said. Once the car circled toward southbound Interstate 5, speeds topped 110 mph. The Honda blew through a construction zone with at least six workers wearing reflective gear in the dark.
Spike strips hit the car’s tires on I-5 at Grandview Road, but the Honda kept going east to rural Whatcom County. Eventually deputies used a PIT maneuver – tapping a front corner of a patrol car into a back corner of the car – to get the Honda to spin out and stop. Sheriff’s deputies jumped out to subdue the driver at Grandview and Dahlberg roads.
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Martinez-Ramos, however, regained control of the Honda and intentionally rammed the door of Deputy Ryan Rathbun’s patrol car, narrowly missing the deputy as he hopped back into his car, according to reports read in court.
On impact Martinez-Ramos’ car came to a stop, and he ran from the scene. A police dog and handler chased after him. Martinez-Ramos was under arrest by 10:19 p.m. The dog’s handler reported straining his neck in the pursuit, and the defendant suffered minor injuries from a dog bite.
Martinez-Ramos faces charges of assault in the first degree for trying to ram the deputy; malicious mischief in the first degree for an estimated $10,000-plus in damage to the patrol car; reckless endangerment of the freeway workers; and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.
Court records list an alias for Martinez-Ramos: Payaso, the Spanish word for clown. He has at least six felonies on his record in Washington: harassment, burglary, criminal impersonation and possession of heroin and meth. Most of his two dozen or so misdemeanor convictions are related to drugs, domestic violence, or driving without a license, according to court records.
Most recently, on Jan. 30, he got pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy and identified himself by his younger brother’s name. He told them that day was his birthday, though he couldn’t recall if he was turning 24 or 26. At the time of that arrest he had a DOC warrant out for his arrest. Martinez-Ramos served a sentence of 20 days in jail for felony criminal impersonation.
Twenty-three times in his past cases, bench warrants had to be issued to get him to show up to court, Dona Bracke, a deputy prosecutor, said at a bail hearing Wednesday afternoon. Martinez-Ramos looked down but glanced back up as Bracke read the charges against him.
Superior Court Commissioner Pamela Englett set bail at $200,000, as requested by the prosecutor.