'Prolific Criminal' Gets 2 1/2 Years: Police Say He Tried To Run - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

'Prolific Criminal' Gets 2 1/2 Years: Police Say He Tried To Run Over Two Officers

SPOKANE, Wash - Nicholas Gillam, 32, is no stranger to the legal system.  Police call him a 'prolific criminal,' and public records show he already had 16 felony convictions, and two active felony warrants for his arrest when he was out on parole in June. 

But that parole didn't last long.

Spokane Police saw Gillam parked in the lot of the Roseaurs grocery store in Browne's Addition, and tried to stop him.  Court records show one officer drove his car to the front of Gillam's, and another officer approached on foot.  They say that's when Gillam jumped in the drivers seat and hit the gas, coming within feet of the two officers.

Luckily they weren't injured.  But Gillam took off, leading them on a high-speed chase while he was high on meth - and with the hood of his car up.

Officers say Gillam drove 40-50 mph through residential streets in Browne's Addition, before turning on to Government Way and reaching speeds of 80 mph in a 45 mph zone - again, with very little visibility, as the hood of his car was still up.

Eventually, Gillam's car became disabled and officers were able to arrest him.

In court Thursday, Gillam pleaded guilty to assault and elude charges via an Alford Plea, which means he doesn't admit guilt, but admits a jury may find him guilty based on the evidence.  He took the plea deal to avoid potentially more serious charges, and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail, with credit for the 68 days he's already served.

Court documents show the officers involved in the chase said it was "one of the worst chases they've ever seen on their patrol," and Judge Cozza told Gillam in court "somebody could have been killed."

Gillam addressed the court himself, saying he's been addicted to meth for the last 20 years, and had relapsed when this crime happened.

"I wasn't trying to endanger anyone," Gillam said.  "I didn't know they were police officers, there weren't any police lights or anything.  I thought they were trying to collect money for drugs.  I got scared, and took off."

Judge Cozza says this constitutes Gillam's second strike under Washington law, and if he's convicted again under a third strike, the sentence would be life without parole.

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