The driver of a moped was arrested Wednesday after leading police on a 20 mph chase through Port Angeles. (Port Angeles Police Department)

Moped driver arrested after 20 mph chase through Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — A moped driver was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and obstructing a law enforcement officer after leading police on a 20 mph chase through Port Angeles.

Nicholas Johnathan Johnson, 38, of Port Angeles was followed down West Eighth, South Laurel and East Third streets before he was cornered by police and handcuffed in the Safeway parking lot Wednesday, charging papers said.

Johnson was being held Thursday on $12,500 bail, according to the Clallam County jail roster.

Detective Cpl. Dave Arand said he spotted Johnson driving without a helmet in the 700 block of West Eighth Street at about 1:04 p.m. Wednesday, police said in a news release.

The scooter was swerving and nearly collided with the curb, Arand said in the arrest narrative.

Johnson, who donned a helmet as he drove, traveled eastbound in the westbound lane for about 200 feet before turning north onto Laurel Street, Arand said.

“The rider looked over his shoulder at me and continued to ride the motor scooter northbound on Laurel Street at approximately 20 mph,” Arand said in his report.

“During this time, I changed the tone of my siren several times. When the male reached the intersection of Fifth and Laurel streets, he came to a complete stop, looked at me, and immediately continued to travel northbound on Laurel Street.”

Johnson turned east from Laurel onto Third Street and south into the Safeway parking lot, making his way to the east entrance of the grocery store.

“It should be noted that the parking lot was full, dozens of citizens were around and our speed at that point was approximately 5 mph,” Arand said.

Officer J.J. Smith, who responded to assist, stopped her marked police vehicle diagonally in front of the store to block the moped.

She moved slightly in reverse to prevent Johnson from swerving around the back of the cruiser, forcing Johnson to stop.

“Detective Arand was able to exit his vehicle and forcefully remove the male from the moped to prevent him from driving off again,” Sgt. Kori Malone said in a news release.

Arand said he shoulder-checked the rider from the right side to dismount him from the scooter.

Johnson resisted as the officers placed him into handcuffs, according to Arand’s account.

“I did not detect the odor of intoxicants coming from Johnson,” Arand said in the arrest narrative.

“However, based on Johnson’s erratic driving, angry and hostile behavior, and the sound of his slurred lethargic speech, I have probable cause to believe that Johnson was driving under the influence of drugs.”

Police obtained a search warrant for two samples of Johnson’s blood.

Johnson was evaluated at Olympic Medical Center before he was booked into the jail.

Sgt. Josh Powless said he observed Johnson in the hospital insulting officers and “yelling incoherent things.”

“Upon seeing me, Johnson asked me if I would like to be ‘kicked in the nuts,’ ” Powless wrote in a supplemental narrative.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected]

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