VIDEO: UAS Aerial Footage, with and without FLIR, as Deputies and K9 Zeus Tracks/Locates the Suspect Hiding in a Truck Cab
Spokane Valley Deputies helped WSP Troopers find the driver of a vehicle who attempted to flee. The driver crashed the car on Broadway, east of I-90, and he and the passenger ran from the car, which caught on fire. A K9 Team and a UAS were used to locate the driver and passenger, who were hiding in the cab of a truck parked at a nearby business. Once in custody, the driver was booked into the Spokane County Jail for Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Vehicle and Hit and Run, Unattended.
A UAS operated by Deputy Bitzer captured the video. As a member of the Spokane Regional Air Support Unit, Deputy Bitzer has been training in the operation of the UAS, which captures video as normally seen with natural/available light and with FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) technology.
Deputy Tyler Kullman and his partner K9 Zeus tracked the suspect while Deputy Bitzer piloted the UAS overhead, taking advantage of the aerial view and FLIR. This ability provided an additional layer of safety for the Deputies conducting the ground search while allowing Deputy Bitzer to possibly detect the driver or passenger hiding in the darkness.
Wanted on a felony Washington State DOC warrant, the driver was identified as 54-year-old Joseph W. Rungo.
The video starts with a natural/available light view before changing to FLIR, dramatically demonstrating the difference between natural/available light and what can be detected using FLIR. You will see Deputy Kullman, K9 Zeus, and other Deputies working toward the truck where the suspect and passenger were found. Once located, Deputies gave commands to the pair and safely detained them.
Rungo was booked into the Spokane County Jail for Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Vehicle and Hit and Run by WSP Troopers. He remains in custody on those charges and a Washington Department of Corrections warrant.