The driver of a vehicle driven at a high rate of speed going the wrong way on a one-way, failed to stop for a Spokane Valley Deputy in the area of 3rd Avenue and Custer in Spokane Valley. The driver, later identified as Edwin Hernandez-Vasquez, was later captured by K9 Laslo with the assistance of Air 1 after a lengthy pursuit.
On August 6, 2016, at approximately 10:44 p.m., Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Corporal Jeff Thurman observed a vehicle with Minnesota license plates traveling the wrong way on 3rd Avenue near Custer at a high rate of speed. Corporal Thurman estimated the vehicle’s speed at 50 mph in a posted 35 mph zone as it traveled eastbound on 3rd Avenue (a one-way westbound). Corporal Thurman activated his lights and siren as he attempted to stop the vehicle to prevent a possible head-on collision and believing the driver might also be impaired. The driver failed to stop and continued at high speed.
Due to the reckless and dangerous nature of the suspect’s driving prior to any law enforcement contact, Corporal Thurman continued to pursue the vehicle. Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter Air 1 was already on patrol and began to fly toward the pursuit to assist along with several addition patrol units.
As the recklessly driven vehicle entered the downtown area, Corporal Thurman terminated the pursuit west of Sherman on Sprague due to the danger of possible pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Air 1 maintained sight of the vehicle driven by Hernandez-Vasquez as he recklessly risked his safety and the safety of others on the city streets.
Air 1 observed and advised ground units, who were staying back and not in pursuit, of Hernandez-Vasquez’s location as he continued to drive at a high rate of speed, completely disregarding traffic lights and the safety of others.
In the area of 14th and Grand, Air 1 advised the suspect did a U-turn and was now traveling right toward Corporal Bohanek and Sergeant Bloomer at a high rate of speed. Corporal Bohanek and Sergeant Bloomer made evasive maneuvers to avoid a head-on collision. As the suspect traveled past, he narrowly missed Corporal Thurman’s vehicle which was parked at 14th and Grand.
With Hernandez-Vasquez’s deliberate and continued disregard for the community’s safety, deputies reengaged the pursuit of Hernandez-Vasquez.
With Air 1 still overhead and pursuing units backing off, Hernandez-Vasquez recklessly made his way north and across the Maple Street Bridge. When he attempted to turn west on Northwest Boulevard, he lost control of the vehicle and struck a light pole. Hernandez-Vasquez jumped out of the vehicle and began running northeast through the parking lot. Corporal Thurman pulled into the parking lot with his emergency equipment activated but Hernandez-Vasquez refused to give up.
Corporal Thurman stopped and deployed K9 Laslo from the back or his patrol vehicle. K9 Laslo quickly caught up to Hernandez-Vasquez and made contact with his left arm. Hernandez-Vasquez tried to pull away but K9 Laslo kept him from doing so as Corporal Thurman and Corporal Bohanek approached. Hernandez-Vasquez was taken to the ground and placed in handcuffs.
Hernandez-Vasquez was provided medical attention before being transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail. It was determined Hernandez-Vasquez was in the U.S. illegally and had been previously deported to Honduras.
Hernandez-Vasquez was charged with Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement, No Valid Operators/Driver’s License, Resisting Arrest and Reckless Driving. ICE (Immigrant Customs Enforcement) was notified of the incident.