'Chaotic' night in Forks ends up being 'a whole lot of nothing'
Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News
Law enforcement officers and Forks Fire Department personnel gather at the Forks Ambulance headquarters across from the Forks hospital Sunday evening.
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Police sirens wailed, officers from several agencies converged and social media speculations raged after a trio of unrelated events Sunday night.
But when all was said and done, it was much ado about nothing, according to police.
The evening was “chaotic” with multiple, unrelated calls, said Clallam County Sheriff's Sgt. Brian King, who supervises Sheriff's Office operations on the West End.
“It turned out to be a whole lot of nothing,” King said.
An erroneous report of a shooting prompted Forks and LaPush police officers, Clallam County sheriff's deputies, State Patrol troopers and Border Patrol agents to converge on Forks Community Hospital at 9:55 p.m., King said.
Although law enforcement found evidence of an altercation, they found no sign of a shooting.
At about 9:23 p.m., law enforcement saw an off-road motorcycle without lights pass by on Bogachiel Way, and thought the motorcyclist might have information about the fight and Deputy Ron Cameron Jr. took off to talk with him.
The motorcyclist led him on an unsuccessful three-fourths-mile chase.
Also late Sunday, an injured hiker was carried out of the Olympic National Park and arrived at the hospital.
An unidentified 53-year-old male hiker fell about 6 feet Saturday while on a trail in the Hoh Rain Forest, and had a bleeding laceration on his head, said Barb Maynes, spokeswoman for the park.
He was taken to the Forks hospital late Sunday.
The active police scanner chatter, police presence at the hospital, sirens, and witness accounts of a police chase and a man at the hospital with a bloody head kept residents speculating on the police activity.
On the Forks-centric Facebook community page, “What's really happening in Forks?!” social media discussion exploded with discussion about the police activity.
Most of the posts were deleted by Tuesday morning, once word began to circulate that there was no actual shooting, but a discussion of the evening's event continued Monday.
“It was out of control,” Becky Ellis said.
“It had me very worried,” Sandy Heinrich wrote.
On Tuesday, King, who was supervising the Sheriff's West End detachment Sunday night, untangled the rumors and clarified what happened.
King said that an unidentified woman had reported her son had been shot in the leg, but when deputies arrived she gave officers “a series of conflicting information” about what had happened.
When officers located her son, he had no bullet wound, King said.
Deputies did find that he had some injuries, and that he had probably been involved in some kid of disturbance with members of a group he had been with, but there was no evidence of a shooting, King said.
Then the motorcycle was spotted and the deputy gave chase.
The rider dropped the motorcycle in front of a closed gate, and the rider escaped on foot, King said, adding he did not know the identity of the motorcyclist.
Cameron found the motorcycle, reported to be old and in poor repair, had two car radiator cores strapped to the back.
The radiators were thought to be stolen from “junk cars” in the area, King said.
He said thieves take the radiators and other copper car parts from junked or abandoned cars, and the thefts are rarely reported.
“It's not a situation where you come out to your car in the morning and your radiator is gone,” he said.
Rescuers reached the injured hiker on Saturday near Olympia Guard Station, 9 miles up the Hoh River Trail from the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center, Maynes said.
Park rangers attempted to airlift the hiker from the Guard Station meadow, but the helicopter was unable to land.
On Sunday morning, rescuers left to take him to an ambulance.
The hiker arrived at Forks Community Hospital late that day. The time was not reported.
Information on the hiker's name or condition was not available Tuesday afternoon.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 02. 2014 7:14PM