Quileute woman faces federal charges after alleged pursuit, ramming police vehicle

LA PUSH — A Quileute tribal woman is facing federal charges of ramming La Push Police Chief Bill Lyon’s patrol vehicle three times with an allegedly stolen car during an extended law enforcement pursuit April 11 on the reservation.

Juanita Elena Penn-Salazar, 32, has a preliminary hearing May 9 in federal District Court in Tacoma on April 24 charges of assaulting a federal officer and assault with a deadly weapon.

The incident began at the Lonesome Creek Store and included an 82-mph chase of more than 15 minutes, according to the federal District Court complaint.

Lyon, who is not a tribal member, was treated at Forks Community Hospital for back and neck injuries.

The owner of the vehicle was treated for a shoulder injury she said she sustained after Penn-Salazar grabbed her for refusing to drive away from the convenience store, located on the reservation.

During her arrest, police say Penn-Salazar told authorities she had been using methamphetamine.

The complaint gave the following account of the incident and its aftermath:

The owner of the vehicle told authorities she was parked at the convenience store at about 6 a.m. April 11 when she had invited Salazar into her 2015 Toyota Camry to get out of the rain.

The driver ran into the store to call 9-1-1 at 6:18 a.m. to report her car was being stolen.

Penn-Salazar broke the rear window of the vehicle with a log and argued with a second occupant of the vehicle, Penn-Salazar’s uncle, who tried to grab the keys before Penn-Salazar sped away.

After Lyon responded to the 9-1-1 call, he was passing by a tribal subdivision when Penn-Salazar rammed him and began chasing him.

Lyon turned around his car, following her as the two reached speeds of 82 mph and while Penn-Salazar threw things out of the vehicle, yelling insults at him and driving erratically.

She turned into the La Push police station and hit Lyon’s car again as he approached the police station intersection, then struck Lyon’s vehicle a third time, disabling it after Lyon drew his gun and told her to show her hands. Penn-Salazar drove away.

At about 6:45 a.m., a Forks police officer and State Patrol trooper continued the pursuit.

A Forks police officer deploying spike strips leapt out of the way to avoid getting run over by Penn-Salazar.

The Quileute Tribal Court had issued a warrant for Penn-Salazar a day earlier for alleged violations that included taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission.

Penn-Salazar is being held at the federal detention center at SeaTac without bail.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] lynews.com.

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