Handcuffed Suspect Slips Away From Police In Spokane Valley - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Handcuffed Suspect Slips Away From Police In Spokane Valley

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: The handcuffed driver of a stolen car escaped from custody early Friday when officers left him unattended to chase his fleeing passenger.

Officers later determined that the passenger had been armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol.

The incident began about 11:15 p.m. Thursday when Officers Mark Benner and Jason Karnitz were working in a two-man patrol car at Pines and Cherry. They spotted a purple Mercury Tracer that had been stolen in a residential burglary that Karnitz had investigated his previous shift.

They followed the Tracer to a dead-end area of a parking lot while confirming through sheriff's dispatch that the car was still listed as stolen. It was.

As the Tracer rolled to a stop, the passenger jumped from the car and ran.  Officer Benner began pursuing him on foot. The passenger ran to the perimeter fence of an apartment complex and threw his backpack over.  He was unable to jump the fence and ran again despite repeated orders that he stop.

Benner chased the suspect to a third-floor landing where he caught and detained him. He later identified the passenger as Tevan Thomas Williams, a 21-year-old Spokane resident.

When Benner initiated the chase, Officer Karnitz handcuffed the driver behind his back and ordered him to stay at the car. He joined the foot pursuit based on officer safety considerations.

After Williams was arrested, the two officers returned to the Tracer. A witness told them the driver had moved his handcuffs to the front and then run away. Despite a search with a K-9 team, the driver was not found.

A search of Williams' person revealed the stolen car owner's Washington State Quest Card and her Washington State Identicard, as well as a second state identicard belonging to a male.

The officers searched the backpack and found a loaded black .45-caliber Llama pistol, documents belonging to the owner of the stolen Tracer, her debit card, numerous flex-cuffs and several bandanas.  The Tracer was seized for execution of a search warrant at a later date.

The driver who fled was described as a white male in his late teens or early 20's. He had brown hair and was about six feet tall, and was wearing a red shirt, light-blue shorts and white running shoes. Anyone with information regarding his identity is encouraged to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

The officers booked Williams into the Spokane County Jail on charges of Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification, Second-Degree Possession of Stolen Property, Unlawful Possession of a Payment Device, Residential Burglary and Obstructing a Police Investigation.

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