Driver flees after shooting

Two arrested in two-county chase

PORT ANGELES — Two people have been arrested following an alleged drive-by shooting that led to a high-speed chase across both Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Nate Peterson, 35, and Christopher Tavita, 29, both were arrested early Monday morning on investigation of multiple crimes after they were treated and released from area hospitals, according to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.

Peterson was identified as the driver and Tavita the alleged shooter as the passenger in the same vehicle, a blue Hyundai Elantra, the sheriff’s office said.

Both are scheduled to appear in Clallam County Superior Court on Wednesday. They were being held in the Clallam County Jail on Monday afternoon.

Peterson was treated at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles before he was booked on investigation of second-degree assault, vehicular assault, attempting to elude, reckless endangerment, DUI drugs, complicity in a drive-by shooting, driving while license suspended and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Tavita was treated at a hospital in Kitsap County before he was booked on investigation of a drive-by shooting, felony possession of a firearm, plus a warrant of escape from community custody for second-degree robbery in King County.

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

One was released at the scene and the other was taken to Jefferson Healthcare hospital. Their condition was unknown Monday afternoon.

King said the two unidentified backseat passengers are not currently facing charges and that one of them told Jefferson County deputies they had tried to exit the vehicle as the events unfolded.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office responded about 7:40 p.m. Sunday to a call of shots being fired from a vehicle near the intersection of Del Guzzi Drive and U.S. Highway 101 in Port Angeles.

The reporting party said the passenger of the Hyundai Elantra shot at him when he would not engage in a race, King said.

When the vehicle drove away, the reporting party called 911 and began pursuing the vehicle at a distance until sheriff’s deputies and Sequim police officers could attempt to stop the driver.

That’s when the driver of the Hyundai Elantra began driving erratically and at speeds well over 100 mph, changing directions on the highway and even into oncoming traffic in opposite lanes, the sheriff’s office said.

As the vehicle crossed into Jefferson County, Port Townsend police officers and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies deployed spike strips near Fat Smitty’s restaurant to disable the vehicle. At least one tire was confirmed to be flat, but the vehicle continued to flee, the Clallam County sheriff’s office said.

Jefferson County deputies conducted two Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuvers, and the second was successful, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and drive into a ditch along state Highway 104 at milepost 7.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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