Impaired Driver Flees in Stolen Vehicle, Hits Two Marked Patrol Units - Suspect Located by UAS Team and Arrested
Spokane County Deputies attempted to contact the male driver of a vehicle who appeared to be passed out to check his welfare. They positioned two marked patrol cars to the front and rear of the stolen vehicle to try and prevent escape, but when the driver became aware of the Deputies, he started the car, pushed both patrol cars out of the way, and fled. Deputies pursued the suspect until they terminated the pursuit due to safety concerns. The vehicle was found abandoned a short time later, and a search began. With the assistance of a Spokane Regional Air Support Unit Unmanned Aerial System Team (SCSO & SPD), the suspect was found hiding in the thick brush by the river. He was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail on several charges.
On January 19, 2022, at approximately 10:00 am, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies attempted to contact a driver who the caller stated appeared to be passed out. The caller attempted to wake the driver, who had been parked in the 1200 block of W. Wedgewood for an hour.
Deputies arrived and observed the 2009 Honda CRV parked on the north side of the road. The driver, later identified as 34-year-old Steven E. Bronowski, was breathing and appeared to be passed out and slumped forward. A check of the vehicle’s license plate and VIN showed the Honda had been reported stolen.
Deputies positioned marked patrol cars to the front, and rear bumpers of the stolen vehicle to try and foil an attempt to flee. Several commands over the PA system did not appear to wake Bronowski. When Deputies devised a plan to safely approach the vehicle and knock loudly on the side widow, Bronowski awoke. Deputies identified themselves and instructed Bronowski to exit the vehicle. Instead of complying, Bronowski put the keys in the ignition and started the Honda. He did not follow continued commands ordering him to stop, and he placed the vehicle in drive and slammed into the marked patrol car, pushing it back a couple of feet. Bronowski then backed up into the patrol car positioned behind him, pushing it a few feet.
Bronowski fled the location at a high rate of speed, with Deputies in pursuit. Bronowski continued his attempt to avoid arrest as he drove recklessly. On N. Driscoll Blvd., near W. Queen Pl., the pursuit was terminated due to safety concerns.
Approximately 10 minutes later, Deputies learned Spokane Police Department (SPD) Officers had been advised of a suspicious vehicle/person call in the 2900 block of W. Grace. SPD confirmed the vehicle reported as suspicious was the stolen Honda Bronowski had been driving. Bronowski was seen running from the Honda toward the Spokane River on T.J. Meenach Drive and was last seen in the thick brush down by the river.
SPD Officers and Deputies established a perimeter and began a search for Bronowski. Spokane Regional Air Support Unit members (SCSO and SPD) arrived to assist and deployed an Unmanned Ariel System (UAS) to aid in the search for Bronowski.
A short time later, a Deputy heard what he believed were branches breaking in the thick cover and requested the assistance of the UAS Team. As the UAS Team flew over the location, they observed a heat signature in the heavy brush. The UAS Team guided the Deputy to the location. The Deputy gave commands for the suspect to surrender while he waited for additional backup. Bronowski crawled out, looked at the Deputy, and began to run despite multiple orders to stop. Bronowski fell as he tried to flee. Finally, he started to follow commands and was taken into custody.
Bronowski was provided medical attention. Once medically clear, he was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Theft of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle, and two counts of Hit and Run/Unattended Vehicle. A judge later set his bond at $10,000 on these charges. He is also being held on an unrelated Assault 2nd DV charge with a total bond set at $60,000.