Felony charges filed after high-speed pursuit

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man accused of leading police on a pursuit, ramming into a police vehicle, driving 70 mph against oncoming traffic and rolling his car down a bank of the Elwha River was charged with several felonies Wednesday.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Christopher Melly followed Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew D. Roberson’s bail recommendation and ordered Robertson L. Walker, 23, held in the Clallam County jail on $15,000 bail.

Walker was charged with attempt to elude, obstructing a law enforcement officer, attempt to elude with a special allegation of endangering another person, hit and run and resisting arrest.

“He almost hit an officer in a head-on collision,” Roberson said. “When it’s all said and done, he finally crashes his car and starts a foot pursuit.

“Thankfully he didn’t kill anyone or injure anyone.”

Walker’s charges stem from events Tuesday morning when an officer contacted him about a warrant. The warrant was issued after he failed to show up to a court hearing earlier this month; he had been released from custody without bail.

“The court has concerns after all this,” Melly said. “With the allegation that you were less than cooperative when contacted [by police], the court has questions of whether you would walk through the door voluntarily if you are released.”

Tuesday morning, Port Angeles Police Officer Luke Brown contacted Walker near Stevens Middle School after receiving a report that he was sleeping in his car, court records say.

When Brown told Walker he had a felony warrant, Walker attempted to flee, according to the probable cause affidavit.

“Walker attempted to put the car in gear, and it went into neutral,” Brown wrote in his report. “Walker revved the engine to drive away, and the vehicle did not move.”

He then put his car into gear and “stomped on the gas,” Brown wrote. Walker drove about 60 mph in the 25 mph zone near Stevens Middle School and Brown discontinued his pursuit, he wrote.

Then Sgt. Josh Powless spotted Walker and the chase was on again. Powless wrote in his report that he watched Walker drive around vehicles at a stoplight on Marine Drive, drive onto a sidewalk and head southbound on the Tumwater Truck Route, where he reached 60 mph.

A Lower Elwha Tribal Police Department officer put out spike strips in an attempt to stop Walker. A semi-truck had stopped in the southbound lane, leaving the northbound lane as the only lane of travel. Instead of going over the spikes, Walker drove into the officer’s vehicle, Powless wrote. Powless then attempted a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver, causing Walker’s vehicle to spin 360 degrees before regaining traction.

Walker then sped off west on U.S. Highway 101 at about 70 mph, court papers say.

As officers were considering to call off the pursuit, Walker crashed his vehicle down an Elwha River embankment on Olympic Hot Springs Road, police said.

Walker fled on foot and attempted to cross the river, but eventually got tired, Powless wrote. Several officers yelled for Walker to stop. He sat down on a rock and awaited his arrest, Powless said.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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