PA man accused of jump from police vehicle held on $10,000 bail

Justin Cox set to re-appear in court today

PORT ANGELES — Bail was set at $100,000 Tuesday for a Port Angeles man who allegedly jumped out of a moving patrol vehicle after being found in possession of methamphetamine and a stolen truck early Saturday.

Justin T. Cox’s preliminary court appearance was continued from Monday to Tuesday after he complained of auditory hallucinations.

Cox, 31, of Port Angeles will re-appear in Clallam County Superior Court at 1 p.m. today for the possible filing of formal charges.

Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Morris alleged that Cox “mule kicked” the rear driver’s side window of the patrol vehicle and jumped out near Front and Francis streets in Port Angeles.

Morris chased down Cox, pulled him to the ground by the back of his sweatshirt and placed him in handcuffs with help from Port Angeles Police Officer Whitney Fairbanks, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

The patrol vehicle was traveling at about 15 mph when Cox climbed through the window, Morris said.

Deputy Don Kitchen and Fairbanks had previously found Cox unconscious in the driver’s seat of a stolen vehicle in a parking lot on the 1800 block of Monroe Road, court papers said.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Cox was in possession of 2.5 grams of methamphetamine.

Cox allegedly resisted arrest at Monroe Road and began kicking the door and windows of Morris’s patrol vehicle as he was being taken to jail. Cox bent the restraint that was initially placed on his wrist, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Cox is being held in the Clallam County jail for investigation of theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, second- and third-degree malicious mischief and resisting arrest and/or escape.

Chief Criminal Sheriff’s Deputy Brian King said Cox caused about $500 in damage to the patrol vehicle by breaking the window and destroying a door handle.

Cox appeared disoriented Monday on a courtroom video monitor. His right arm was in a cast.

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols requested $100,000 bail for Cox on Monday and again Tuesday.

“I do have significant concerns with regards to the likelihood of Mr. Cox appearing back in court,” Nichols told Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour on Monday.

“I also have a separate concern on behalf of the state regarding the threat that he presents to the community. And last but not least, I have a stand-alone concern regarding likelihood of him interfering with the administration of justice moving forward.”

In May 2018, Cox fled from a Port Angeles police officer who attempted to arrest him for a no-bail Department of Corrections warrant, police said.

“I would like the record to reflect that Mr. Cox is making faces on the video monitor before the court during the state’s presentation,” Nichols added.

After speaking with his client, defense attorney Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender requested that the hearing be reset.

Gasnick asked the court to order a mental health evaluation for Cox for a possible commitment under the state’s Involuntary Treatment Act, or ITA.

“The gentleman has indicated to me that he is suffering from auditory hallucinations that are interfering with his ability to participate in today’s proceedings,” Gasnick said.

Cox confirmed that he was suffering from auditory hallucinations, and said he was taking Thorazine.

Coughenour granted Gasnick’s request and ordered Cox held without bail until his next court appearance.

Peninsula Behavioral Health completed its evaluation of Cox prior to Tuesday’s hearing, which was a late addition to the court calendar.

Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson imposed the $100,000 bail Tuesday.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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