LA CENTER, Wash. (KOIN) — The driver of a car fleeing from police at more than 100 mph stopped on the overpass of I-5 at Exit 16 in La Center, then was shot by police, the Washington State Patrol said late Thursday night.
After being shot, the driver barricaded himself in the car and refused to get out. But, authorities said, he later complied and was then taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The incident began around 7:15 p.m. when WSP troopers spotted the speeding car near milepost 39 and noted it fit the description of a car that fled from a traffic stop by Kelso police.
The WSP troopers tried to make a traffic stop, but said the driver — whose name has not yet been released — took off and “made many unsafe movements while fleeing the troopers.”
According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, authorities attempted to stop the vehicle with spike strips as it passed Woodland, but it was unsuccessful. The driver then exited the freeway at the La Center exit and crashed into another car on the off-ramp.
Because of the collision, the fleeing car was finally disabled and came to a stop at a nearby roundabout. WSP troopers were then joined by a Cowlitz Tribal Police Department officer and they worked to gain compliance from the man driving the car, as well as a female passenger also inside the car.
It was during this process that both WSP troopers and the Cowlitz Tribal officer fired shots off, striking the driver.
It is unclear what led up to the shooting, but CCSO did not say the driver shot back.
The woman then got out of the car and was taken into custody. However, the driver remained seated inside the car and refused to exit — telling the authorities he had a gun and that he “was ready to die.” According to the CCSO, he was then seen using a meth pipe multiple times.
After about 20 minutes, the driver finally came out of the car and was taken into custody. He was given emergency first aid before being rushed to a hospital to receive treatment for his gunshot wound.
CCSO says he is in serious but stable condition at this time.
The investigation continues, led by the Southwest Washington Independent Investigative Response Team (SWIIR Team). The SWIIR Team is made up of agencies in Clark County, including the Battle Ground Police Department, Camas Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Vancouver Police Department.
Kara Fox-LaRose, the president and general manager of ilani, said the suspect never reached the casino. “Outdoor diners were moved inside, and Cowlitz Crossing and the Cowlitz Tobacco Outlet were temporarily closed until the scene was secured,” she said.
She also said ilani is open.
KOIN 6 News will have more information as it develops.