Driver Arrested after PIT Maneuver Safely Ends Pursuit
Spokane Valley and Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies worked together to end a driver’s attempt to evade arrest safely. Spike strips were deployed causing two of the vehicle’s tires to lose pressure and go flat, slowing the vehicle. Shortly after, a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver was used to end the pursuit safely. The adult female driver was arrested for a valid felony warrant for her arrest and a new felony charges of Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle.
On September 6, 2019, just after 4:40 a.m., Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputy Stephan Blaakman observed no visible license plates on the gray Honda Odyssey in front of him. He also noted the minivan drifted over the middle of the lane toward oncoming traffic.
Deputy Blaakman activated the emergency lights of his fully marked patrol car to initiate a traffic stop at the intersection of 4th Ave. and Havana. Instead of stopping, the driver, later identified as 33-year-old Amy K. McDonald, chose to turn east on 4th and increased speed in an obvious attempt to flee. Deputy Blaakman activated his siren as they traveled east on 4th where McDonald merged onto I-90.
With additional Deputies responding to assist, the pursuit continued to the Argonne exit where McDonald failed to stop at the red light before turning south on Argonne. McDonald continued to drive recklessly as she attempted to escape.
At the intersection of 4th and Farr, Deputy Blaakman observed McDonald stick her arm out of the window and appeared to discard or dump a small baggie. Deputy Jessica Baken later returned to the intersection after McDonald’s arrest and located two intact pills (one white, one blue). In addition, several similar pieces of pills were found that appeared to have been crushed by the tires of the pursuing patrol car. The whole pills were identified as Clonazepam (2mg and 1mg), a schedule 4 controlled substance.
With little to no vehicle or pedestrian traffic, Deputies continued to follow McDonald as they worked together, via radio, to intercept McDonald and deploy spike strips.
Now eastbound on Sprague approaching the intersection of Pines, Sergeant Ron Miya positioned himself ahead of McDonald. He successfully deployed a set of spike strips causing the controlled deflation of the minivan’s passenger’s side tires.
Despite two flat tires, considerably decreasing McDonald’s ability to travel at higher speeds, she continued to flee. Still on Sprague, just east of Sullivan, Deputy Blaakman surveyed the area for safety before successfully conducting a PIT maneuver. With the minivan stopped, Deputy Chris Gunter positioned his patrol car in a post PIT position, removing McDonald’s ability to continue her attempt to evade arrest.
McDonald followed commands and was safely taken into custody without further incident.
Spokane Valley Fire personnel responded to the scene to medically evaluate McDonald. After she was cleared, McDonald was advised of her rights. She stated she understood and agreed to answer questions. McDonald explained she ran because she had a Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) warrant for her arrest, and she was scared.
A check of McDonald’s reveled she indeed had an active felony warrant, and her driving status showed as suspended 1st Degree.
A baggie and a small pill, similar to the ones found at the intersection of 4th and Farr, were observed inside the minivan which was impounded pending the application of a search warrant.
McDonald was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for her warrant and a new charge of Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle. She was also charged with misdemeanor Driving While Suspended 1st Degree and issued an infraction for improper lane usage.
Additional charges are possible depending on the results of the search warrant and continued investigation.