PORT ANGELES — Police on Tuesday arrested a Port Angeles man they said led law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit that involved him crashing into a police vehicle and eventually rolling down the bank of the Elwha River.
“He put a lot of people in danger for a short period of time,” said Cpl. David Dombrowski of the Port Angeles Police Department.
Police arrested Robertson L. Walker, 23, for investigation of two counts of eluding a police vehicle and on a felony warrant that had been issued Aug. 9. That warrant was related to a pending case in which Walker is charged with third-degree theft, unlawful use of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and possession of heroin.
Walker remained in the Clallam County jail on no bail Tuesday afternoon.
Officer Luke Brown was dispatched at about 9:08 a.m. after police received a tip that Walker was sleeping inside a vehicle, said Deputy Chief Jason Viada.
When Brown arrived Walker drove away and Brown lost sight of him about at about 9:24 a.m.
Sgt. Josh Powless then spotted Walker near the intersection of Fourth and B streets at about 9:41 a.m. and attempted to stop him, but Walker drove off again, Viada said.
Walker led Powless on a pursuit south on state Highway 117 — the Tumwater Truck Route — where he sped up to 60 mph before slowing to 50 mph, Viada said.
A Lower Elwha Tribal Police Department officer deployed spike strips in an attempt to end the pursuit, but Walker crashed into the officer’s vehicle, causing damage to its front end.
“It’s fair to say it was heavily damaged,” Viada said. He said he was not aware of the officer suffering any injuries.
Powless then performed a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) on Walker’s vehicle, but Walker again sped off and headed west on U.S. Highway 101 out of Port Angeles.
Viada said Walker drove at about 70 mph on U.S. Highway 101 and was driving toward oncoming traffic as he made his way west toward the Elwha River.
Walker rolled his vehicle down the bank of the Elwha River at Olympic Hot Springs Road and then began to flee on foot, Dombrowski said.
Walker was in custody by about 9:56 a.m. after a short foot pursuit along the river.
Dombrowski said police surrounded him and when officers from atop the Elwha River Bridge spotted Walker running on the sandbar, Walker sat down on a rock and awaited his arrest.
Police transported Walker to Olympic Medical Center in a patrol vehicle so he could have an evaluation before being booked into the Clallam County jail.
Walker was previously arrested July 31 after law enforcement found him inside an abandoned house on the 2000 block of East Maddoc Road, police said at the time.
When Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies interviewed him later that day, Walker told investigators he had been to the Walmart in Sequim, where he purchased a watch, though video shows that he didn’t pay for the watch, court papers said.
He was arrested again Aug. 6 after deputies received a report of a suspicious vehicle.
Walker attempted to flee after he was handcuffed, but his legs gave out and he fell. While searching him deputies found drug paraphernalia and 0.5 grams of heroin.
He was released without bail Aug. 7, but a bench warrant was issued Aug. 9 when he did not show up for court.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].