Bail set in drive-by shooting, pursuit

Arraignment set for Thursday

PORT ANGELES — The alleged driver and shooter in Sunday night’s drive-by shooting and two-county pursuit appeared in court Tuesday after investigators recovered the gun they believe was used in the shooting.

Bail for Nathan Peterson, 35, was set at $50,000 while bail for Christopher Tavita, 29, was set at $100,000 when they appeared before Judge Brent Basden in Clallam County Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Both Federal Way men will be back in Clallam County Superior Court on Thursday for arraignment.

Peterson is facing possible charges of driving while his license is suspended, DUI-Drugs, eluding a police vehicle, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, accomplice to a drive-by shooting and accomplice to second-degree assault.

Tavita is facing possible charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, drive-by shooting and warrant of escape from community custody for second-degree robbery in King County.

Neither are allowed to travel outside of Washington, to possess firearms or drugs not prescribed by a doctor, to drive a motor vehicle or to contact the people who were backseat passengers or others allegedly affected by the incident.

Basden also placed Peterson on a home monitoring system and Tavita is required to report to the state Department of Corrections for outstanding warrants should his bail be posted.

Earlier Tuesday morning, investigators with the Clallam County and Jefferson County sheriff’s offices searched the area of state Highway 104 where Sunday night’s chase ended, seeking the firearm which Jefferson County deputies said had been thrown from the vehicle.

Investigators said they recovered a disassembled AR-style .223 rifle on the side of a hill off the road along with a backpack full of ammunition.

Deputies had reported that Peterson and Tavita attempted to engage another driver in a street race Sunday evening at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and Del Guzzi Drive in Port Angeles.

When the driver would not participate, Tavita allegedly shot at him, prompting the driver to call the police at about 7:40 p.m. and begin pursuing the Hyundai Elantra at a distance until sheriff’s deputies and Sequim police officers joined the pursuit.

The driver of the Elantra sped way, driving erratically, changing directions on the highway and even into oncoming traffic in opposite lanes, according to the Clallam County sheriff’s office.

After law enforcement deployed spike strips and conducted two Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuvers, the driver lost control of the vehicle and drove into a ditch at milepost 7 on state Highway 104.

Peterson, Tavita, and another passenger were taken to regional hospitals for minor injuries from the rollover. A fourth passenger was released at the scene.

The two unidentified backseat passengers are not facing charges, Brian King, the chief criminal deputy for the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, said.


Reporter Ken Park can be reached at