(The Center Square) – The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is publicizing another example of someone who police were almost not allowed to chase because of Washington’s restrictive pursuit law.
The pursuit, which began in Idaho, would have ended with the suspect escaping authorities were it not for a bit of luck and some quick communication between various law enforcement departments.
The suspect, later identified as 43-year-old Clement M. Cordova, was seen driving a black Chevy Volt without headlights at a high rate of speed heading north on Division Street in Spokane. At approximately 12:30 am Friday “Deputy Hicks was traveling south on Division at Lyons and observed the Volt (matching license plate) going north on Division” according to a news release by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Hicks was approved by supervisors for a Pursuit Intervention Technique, or PIT maneuver. PIT is a tactic used by law enforcement bumping the rear end of a vehicle to the left or right causing it to lose traction, resulting in a spin out and stop.
This was thought safe given that there was no traffic or pedestrians present and little danger to the public. Following a short detour through a parking lot, with widely varied speeds and erratic driving behavior, Cordova allegedly traveled north on Newport Highway at rates of speed reaching over 90 mph with Hicks still in pursuit.
Due to the increased danger to the public, supervisors called off the pursuit at approximately 12:33 am. Hicks deactivated his emergency lights and sirens, but pursued at a safe speed and distance with hazard lights active.
This is where the pursuit could have ended and, with previous suspects escaping multiple times in the same week as previously reported by The Center Square, it’s possible Cordova would have escaped the authorities. Due to some timely interdepartmental communication with the Idaho State Patrol, that outcome was avoided.
At approximately 1:00 am, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office received information from the Idaho State Patrol that gave probable cause for aggravated battery of law enforcement due to Cordova allegedly ramming several patrol vehicles earlier in the night while evading arrest.
“After determining that the probable cause of Aggravated Assault in Idaho equated to at least Assault 2nd, if not Assault 1st in Washington, which would allow a pursuit to continue under Washington State RCW 10.116.060,” troopers were advised they had the authority to, if conditions were safe for the public, continue pursuit of Cordova.
Minutes later near North Road, Sergeant Criswell “initiated a successful PIT, causing Cordova’s vehicle to spin and come to a stop. With the assistance of WSP Troops and Deputies, Cordova was taken into custody without further incident,” the release states.
Several cans of alcoholic beverages as well as prescription drugs were found in the vehicle.
A warrant was issued for a blood sample and Cordova was booked into Spokane County Jail for two counts of felony Attempt to Elude a Police Vehicle and DUI, his bond is set at $25,000.
This article First appeared in the center square