Forks officer recovering from 2nd surgery; suspect facing assault, resisting arrest charges

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Forks police officer whose lower leg shattered while he was tackling a fleeing man more than a week ago is recovering from his second surgery at Harborview Medical Center.

Officer Michael Gentry was listed in satisfactory condition Friday at the Seattle hospital, where he was expected to have a third and final surgery sometime this week.

“The doctors expect him to make a full recovery, but it’s going to be four months at least,” Police Administrator Rick Bart said.

Multiple surgeries are needed because of the swelling and severity of the broken leg, Bart said.

“The bad thing is it’s vertical, like splitting down a piece of wood,” Bart said.

Gentry broke his tibia just below the left kneecap and his left wrist while tackling Walter B. Martin-Perez in the parking lot of the Evergreen 76 gas station in Forks just before midnight
Jan. 18.

Investigators said Martin-Perez, 23, was pulled over for driving erratically in a 1996 Ford Explorer, then backed the SUV into Gentry’s patrol car and took off running.

Gentry charged Martin-Perez and caught him near the 76 store.

“He’s not sure how it happened, but they went to the ground, sideways and down,” Bart said.

Gentry’s knee was pinned against a curb as it absorbed Gentry’s body weight and the weight of the suspect.

Bart added that the break was “up, down and sideways.”

Martin-Perez realized that Gentry couldn’t move and ran away, Bart said.

Witnesses followed Martin-Perez to the Forks Mobile Home Park, where he has a listed address, but lost sight of him there.

He was arrested in the Forks area Monday.

Martin-Perez was charged Thursday in Clallam County Superior Court with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon — the SUV — and resisting arrest.

He is being held in the Clallam County jail on $10,000 bail.

An arraignment hearing is set for 9 a.m. Friday.

Gentry, who has family in Port Angeles, has been a Forks police officer for 3 years.

Prior to that, he was a corrections officer in Oklahoma, Bart said.

A skilled shooter, Gentry is in line to become the Forks Police Department range master.

“He’s doing OK,” Bart said in a Thursday telephone interview. “He wants to come back to work.”

Get-well cards can be sent to Gentry through Forks City Hall, 500 E. Division St., Bart said.

A fund has been established for Gentry and his family through the Forks branch of First Federal.

Write “Mike Gentry” on checks made out to the Forks Police Foundation.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 26. 2014 6:47PM
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