Intoxicated Driver Passed Out in Drive Thru Attempts to Flee
Spokane Valley Deputies used a PIT maneuver to safely end a short pursuit which began just before 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. The driver, identified as 31-year-old Michael V. Elston, was reportedly passed out in the Jack in the Box drive thru located at 1505 N. Pines. Elston failed to follow commands and fled in his vehicle when a deputy contacted him.
Elston reportedly was in and out of consciousness as he sat in a Ford Focus Wagon at the drive thru window and slurred his words as he spoke. Spokane Valley Deputy Mitchell Othmer contacted Elston at the location and he could smell a strong odor of what he believed was alcohol emitting from Elston’s vehicle. He noticed Elston’s eyes were watery and droopy and he ordered Elston to shut his vehicle off, but Elson said no and sped away.
Deputy Tim Jones and Sergeant Damon Simmons, in separate vehicles, were stopped at a red light on Pines and Mission. They observed Elston fleeing Deputy Othmer’s location at a high rate of speed. Elston exited the parking lot and drove east on Mission. Deputy Jones and Sergeant Simmons activated their emergency lights and pulled in behind Elston as he continued east on Mission from Pines. Elston reached speeds of 60 mph in a posted 35 mph zone as he failed to stop for the patrol vehicles. Elston turned south on McDonald and reached speeds of 75 mph.
Fearing for the safety of the public, Deputy Jones began to survey the area to conduct a possible PIT maneuver to safely end the pursuit. As Elston approached a red light at Broadway, he slowed down. With no other vehicles or pedestrians observed in the area, Deputy Jones moved in and successfully completed a pursuit intervention technique (PIT), causing Elston’s vehicle to slowly spin and come to a stop on Broadway just west of McDonald. Both Deputy Jones and Sergeant Simmons moved into Post-PIT positions, pinning Elston’s vehicle, eliminating his ability to flee in the vehicle. Instead of following commands and surrendering, Elston jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot. Sergeant Simmons quickly caught Elston near the church located in the northwest corner of the intersection, and pulled him to the ground. Elston grabbed for Sergeant Simmons’ gun belt and kept his left hand underneath his body. Not knowing if Elston was armed or attempting to access weapons on Sergeant Simmons’ gun belt, on which he continued to pull, several strikes were delivered. After a brief struggle, Deputy Jones and Sergeant Simmons gained control of Elston and placed him in handcuffs.
Elston appeared extremely intoxicated and had problems walking back to the patrol cars. The adult male passenger in Elston’s vehicle (not charged) was also extremely intoxicated and was unable to give a statement.
Deputy Todd Miller, a drug recognition expert (DRE), responded to continue the DUI investigation. Deputy Miller learned Elston had a prior DUI conviction and was required to have an ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle. A search of the vehicle found an interlock device was not installed.
Elston was transported to a local hospital to be evaluated and receive treatment for minor injuries. From Deputy Miller’s observations, he believed Elston was highly intoxicated and he applied for, and was granted, a search warrant to retrieve a sample of Elston’s blood for testing.
Elston was medically cleared and was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Vehicle, DUI, and Operating a Vehicle without an Ignition Interlock Device.