Chase leads to discovery of ‘stacks’ of mail, counterfeit drugs

The stolen black 2022 Dodge sits mangled on the roadside. The pickup had collided head-on with a 2016 Honda Pilot after a short pursuit. (Clallam County Sheriff’s Office)

The stolen black 2022 Dodge sits mangled on the roadside. The pickup had collided head-on with a 2016 Honda Pilot after a short pursuit. (Clallam County Sheriff’s Office)

PORT ANGELES — An early-morning police chase in west Port Angeles on Wednesday led to the discovery of “stacks” of Kitsap County mail, stolen identification and counterfeit drugs, said Clallam County Chief Deputy Brian King on Thursday.

Amber Watson, 37, of Port Orchard, who is 35 weeks pregnant, remained in the Clallam County jail on Thursday. She is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail for investigation of driving under the influence, attempting to elude pursuing police vehicles and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Christopher Simon Montalbo, 31, who police said had fled from the car on Wednesday, was arrested, taken to Olympic Medical Center (OMC) in Port Angeles and booked into the Clallam County jail on Thursday morning, King said.

He is being held on investigation of possession of a stolen vehicle, manufacturing and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and two community custody placement warrants. No bail has been set pending an initial court appearance.

“We’re still processing the contents of the vehicle,” King said Thursday.

“There were stacks of mail, entire bags worth. So we are scanning each piece individually and sending them to Kitsap County.

“They still are processing them. It probably will be days before they wrap their heads around it,” King said.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office did not return a call for comment.

As to why two Kitsap County residents were in Port Angeles, King said, “Bremerton police had probable cause to believe they had stolen a truck. So the best thing to say is they were ‘fleeing the heat,’” he said.

Along with the mail and various forms of identification that included a passport, sheriff’s deputies also recovered counterfeit painkillers known as M-30s that are made to look like prescription oxycodone pills, according to King.

King said Montalbo was arrested after being found at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday unconscious in the driveway of a residence on Lower Elwha Road.

Montalbo was taken to OMC, where he spent the night before being taken to jail the next day.

The police chase began about 6:50 a.m. Wednesday when a Clallam County Sheriff’s Office deputy investigated a report of a vehicle blocking a driveway in the 2800 block of U.S. Highway 101 just west of Port Angeles.

The black 2022 Dodge pickup was found to have been stolen from Bremerton. A driver and passenger were discovered sleeping in the vehicle with drug paraphernalia in their laps, according to police.

The driver drove off and was reportedly seen turning from state Highway 112 onto Elwha River Road, heading east. After a short pursuit, the pickup collided head-on with a 2016 Honda Pilot.

The woman driving the Honda — Ashley Petersen, 40, of Port Angeles — was taken to OMC, where she was reported in good condition on Wednesday and released Thursday.

Trooper Katherine Weatherwax, State Patrol spokeswoman, said the two vehicles collided head-on at fairly low speed.

Watson suffered minor scratches, while the passenger, later identified as Montalbo, fled wearing only one shoe, she said.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at [email protected]

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