By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Joseph Gregory Gaikowski, 27, was charged last Thursday with one count each of possessing a stolen motor vehicle, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and illegal possession of morphine.
Gaikowski, who was being held in the Clallam County jail as of Tuesday on $5,000 bail, will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Clallam County Superior Court.
The charges stem from Gaikowski’s arrest March 26 after he and another Port Angeles man, 25-year-old Sean Earl Gormley, were found in the Deer Park area of Olympic National Park by Port Angeles police K-9 units.
Gormley was released from jail last Thursday, and no charges will be filed against him in connection with this case, said Jesse Espinoza, the deputy Clallam County prosecuting attorney assigned to the case.
Espinoza said he did not have enough evidence to show Gormley knew the green Ford F-150 pickup truck Gaikowski and Gormley were thought to have abandoned off Deer Park Road was stolen or that Gormley was driving.
“We couldn’t put [Gormley] behind the wheel,” Espinoza said.
“There was evidence against Gaikowski that didn’t exist for Gormley.”
For example, Espinoza said, police found a backpack containing the truck’s registration and insurance information and paperwork connected with Gaikowski near where he and Gormley were discovered in the woods.
According to police accounts, Gaikowski and Gormley were arrested after the truck was found abandoned along the side of Deer Park Road.
A State Patrol trooper had clocked the truck, which had been reported stolen from a Jefferson County barn March 14, going between 80 to 90 mph along U.S. Highway 101 before it turned onto Deer Park Road.
The trooper had tried to pull the truck’s driver over after the trooper saw the truck allegedly going 63 mph in a 50 mph zone on Old Olympic Highway about 9 miles east of Deer Park Road.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.