A potential high speed pursuit, and whether or not to engage, is one of the most dangerous situational decisions a law enforcement officer will have to make. I would not want to have to face the determination of what is too fast when giving chase to a perpetrator.

Kennewick Police faced that situation twice today and each time it was determined the speeds were too high and too risky so the apprehension of a wanted car thief had to wait for a third time.

At the end of the story, the suspect sauntering through the neighborhood where he was eventually apprehended as if nothing was going on, having not a care in the world was a bold touch. "What, me? Not me, officer, I'm just here for a leisurely, neighborhood walk in a part of the city I don't live."

It all started this morning about 7:10 a.m. as KPD was dispatched to assist RPD with a rig that had been stolen from a Fowler Construction site in Richland. GPS tracking tagged the vehicle at a Kennewick location, near the intersection of W. Clearwater Ave. and N. Neel St.

KPD initiated a high risk stop, and the driver complied, at first, but then decided to bolt from the cops at a clip the police deemed too high to pursue as the driver was recklessly weaving in and out of traffic.

A short time later, the vehicle was spotted in a parking lot by another KPD black-and-white in the 6000 block of W. Kennewick Ave. Multiple officers attempted to set containment but, once again, commands were NOT followed by the man and this time he floored the stolen vehicle's gas pedal to flee damaging a Kennewick police patrol ride and a civilian's car in the process. Both vehicles were unoccupied at the time, but did sustain damage as the man sped away for a second time at a speed deemed too fast to follow.

Then, finally, the third time's the charm as the stolen vehicle was located yet again, near the intersection of W. Kennewick Ave. and S. Jefferson St. where it was parked. A witness in the area observed the suspect male exit the driver's seat and start to sprint on foot before stopping and acting like he was on a casual stroll through the neighborhood. The male, who was identified as 24 year old Casey Thompson, was arrested by KPD officers.

Thompson was booked into the Benton County Jail on charges of Auto Theft, Eluding, and Malicious Mischief 1st Degree.

More here.

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