Cops, spotting plane and log truck driver get their man

About 20 different officers from at least a half dozen different law enforcement agencies — plus tracking dogs, a drone, a plane and, finally, a tip from a log truck driver — were involved in the arrest of a North River area man Monday afternoon after he fled from officers. A day earlier he had escaped from deputies who were assisting mental health workers trying to evaluate him.

Two sheriff’s cars collided early on in the Monday incident, damaging both cars and leaving one deputy with an abrasion on his face.

On Sunday, Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home on Lund Road in the North River area south of Cosmopolis when the 33-year-old man’s mother called 911 and the call had been disconnected. Mental Health workers were attempting to evaluate the man and did not feel comfortable contacting him without help, Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Brad Johansson said.

The man threatened to kill the deputies and picked up a metal object before running out the back door and escaping, Johansson said.

The incident leading to the large-scale search was the next day. Johansson said the man had returned home Sunday and calmed down, but the next day he became upset again and his mother called for help.

“The (initial) goal was trying to get him to meet with health professionals, unfortunately, it didn’t go that way,” said Johansson.

During this investigation of the Sunday incident, deputies learned that he was also a suspect in a vehicle pursuit two days before, involving Cosmopolis police. The pursuit ended when the suspect starting going toward oncoming traffic.

Monday’s incident began about 11 a.m. and went until about 3 p.m. As the first deputy arrived at the Lund Road home, he saw the man leaving in a 1995 Mercury Sable. The deputy turned and attempted to stop the man by turning on his lights and siren. The suspect fled east on Lund Road. A second deputy who was responding was passed by the suspect on Lund Road. As the deputy attempted to turn his vehicle around he was involved in a collision with the first deputy.

Neither deputy were seriously injured, Johansson said, but one received an abrasion on his face. One vehicle had front-end damage the second sustained major damage to the driver’s side. The Washington State Patrol will investigate the collision involving the deputies.

More responding officers located the suspect’s Sable, which had gone across Highway 101 and struck a guardrail on North River Road. The suspect had fled the scene on foot.

The Washington State Patrol, police from Montesano, Aberdeen and Cosmopolis and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist in the search. A Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office K-9 tracked the suspect from the scene, but eventually lost the track.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office was asked to respond with a drone to see if they could locate the suspect in an area of timber and clearcuts, Johansson said.

The Washington State Patrol sent a plane to search the area.

A passing log truck driver saw the suspect cross Highway 101 and when he saw officers, stopped to tell them. The Patrol plane, referred to as Smokey, spotted the man in a clearcut and directed law enforcement to the location. The suspect continued to flee, Johansson said, and was captured by the Grays Harbor tracking dog.

The suspect sustained minor injuries from the K-9 and was treated at the hospital prior to being booked into the Grays Harbor County jail, Johansson said. He was booked on felony eluding and second-degree assault.