Court sentences man whose flight prompted ban of Morse Creek camp site

Toka John Lavacca was sentenced Dec. 17

Toka John Lavacca

Toka John Lavacca

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man whose flight from arrest led to a ban on camping near the Morse Creek curve in July has been sentenced to residential drug treatment.

Toka John Lavacca, who pulled a pistol from his waistband and pointed it at two homeowners before fleeing from authorities July 9, was sentenced Dec. 17 to chemical dependency treatment and two years probation, court papers said.

Lavacca, 40, pleaded guilty Oct. 15 to two counts of third-degree assault with criminal negligence and weapons enhancements and single counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and making threats to kill.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson imposed the sentenced as recommended by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Espinoza and Defense Attorney Stan Myers.

Lavacca’s residential drug treatment program will last three to six months, court papers said.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Lavacca pulled a small-caliber, chrome-colored pistol from his waistband and pointed it at two homeowners on the afternoon of July 9.

The confrontation took place in a driveway in the 2800 block of East Myrtle Street east of Port Angeles, Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Morris said in affidavit for probable cause.


The male homeowner said Lavacca was arguing with a woman in his driveway when the homeowner told them it was a private road and that it dead ends, according to the affidavit.

Lavacca apologized to the man and began walking back to Myrtle Street when the homeowner said the woman Lavacca was with gave him “the most ‘evilest smirk’ as they walked away.”

The man said he asked Lavacca’s companion, “What the [expletive] you looking at?” at which point Lavacca “turned around and pointed this silver pistol at me sideways,” the homeowner said, “right at my head.”

Lavacca then pointed the gun at the man’s wife as she drove toward the residence, Morris said.

After the confrontation, Lavacca fled about 1 mile east to a homeless encampment on a 130-acre state Department of Fish and Wildlife urban wildlife preserve off the Morse Creek curve of U.S. Highway 101.

Acting on tips that Lavacca frequented the area, authorities found him at a campsite about 200 yards from a communal dump site.

Lavacca ran about 100 yards before he was arrested, Morris said.

State Department of Fish & Wildlife police and Clallam County Sheriff’s Office broke up the camp in early August after giving warnings to campers.

The Myrtle Street homeowners appeared at Lavacca’s sentencing hearing and supported the drug treatment sentence, court papers said.

Lavacca was originally charged with two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of harassment-threats to kill and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm.

The amended charges made him eligible for residential drug treatment.

Lavacca was released from the Clallam County jail Dec. 17 and entered drug treatment in Spokane the following day, according to the minutes of the sentencing hearing.

A review hearing was set for March 13.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula

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