High-speed chase mars mostly calm Fourth

Tuesday may have been a quiet Fourth of July overall for local law enforcement, but one man created plenty of work for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office as he allegedly plowed through a crowd of fireworks watchers while leading deputies on a high-speed chase through town.

Spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said the incident began when a resident of Beach Drive called 911, reporting that a belligerent and likely intoxicated man was threatening him with a pool cue and would not leave his property.

According to the victim, who lives on the 2800 block of Beach Drive, the suspect, a 23-year-old South Kitsap resident, parked his blue Pontiac Firebird coupe near his home and asked to use his property.

The victim said he told the suspect to leave, and when he refused he told him he was getting his gun and calling the police. When the victim came back outside with his gun, he said the suspect pulled a pool cue out of his car and began to threaten him with it.

Hearing sirens en route, the suspect then reportedly took off in his car, heading down Beach toward Olney Avenue. Shortly before the suspect reached Olney, witnesses said his car drove past a large group of pedestrians watching the fireworks display, narrowly missing several children in the roadway as it fishtailed during the sharp turn.

At least one of the adults nearby, a 54-year-old Port Orchard man, confronted the suspect at one point when his car had slowed and attempted to pull the keys out of the ignition. However, he said the suspect then quickly took off, dragging the witness briefly as another witness jumped on the vehicle’s hood to try and stop it.

The 54-year-old freed himself, and was later taken to the hospital after suffering injuries to his hip and elbow.

The suspect then continued up Olney, driving through traffic stopped at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Mile Hill Drive, meeting another pursing deputy as he headed south on Jackson.

The pursuit ended minutes later when the suspect crashed into a power pole at the corner of Madrona and Tamarack drives, cutting the pole in half and trapping himself in his car. The pursuing deputy then approached the car, noting that there were several liquor bottles inside, including an open one next to the driver’s seat, and that the suspect smelled strongly of alcohol.

The suspect was able to crawl out of his vehicle before medics arrived, but complained of knee pain and was taken to the hospital. He was admitted to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton with serious injuries, where Wilson said he remains under 24-hour guard.

Wilson said the suspect has not been arrested yet, but faces possible charges of eluding, DUI and hit and run, along with a felony warrant for escape. As of Thursday, he said he was unsure when the suspect would be released from the hospital.

During the pursuit, deputies also arrested a 65-year-old Port Orchard man for suspected DUI after he reportedly drove through a roadblock set up at Madrona and Pine Tree drives, almost striking two deputies.

Other local agencies reported a fairly calm Fourth.

Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend said his office received 10 calls regarding fireworks in the 24-hour holiday period.

Trooper Brian George, spokesman for District 8 of the Washington State Patrol, said there was one DUI arrest in the South Kitsap area Tuesday, and another driver was arrested near Sedgwick Road and State-Route 16 for carrying a pipe bomb.

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