Man dead in crash involving stolen excavator, police prohibited from pursuing suspect in Washington State

An officer noticed a truck pulling an excavator on a trailer driving erratically. The boom arm was fully extended, causing it to hit a stop sign.  

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Police are investigating following a fatal crash Saturday that involved a stolen truck hauling a trailer with an excavator on it. Police were not allowed to pursue due to restrictions placed on police pursuits by Washington Democrats. 

On Saturday at 6:55 am, Kent police were dispatched to the area of 12000 SE 236th ST for reports of a driver fleeing from a truck and trailer in a ditch.

According to police, while en route to that incident, an officer noticed a different truck pulling an excavator on a trailer on SE 234th driving erratically. The boom arm was fully extended, causing it to hit a stop sign.
Due to restrictions placed on police pursuits by the Democratic-controlled legislature, the officer was unable to pursue but did observe that the truck was unable to maintain control of the swerving trailer.

A short distance later the trailer and excavator rolled over and detached from the truck. The driver hopped out briefly, but then got back in the truck and fled and once again officers could not pursue.
While examining the crash scene, officers found a 29-year-old male, who had been on the trailer or excavator during the rollover crash with massive head and chest injuries.

Officers immediately provide CPR and other medical aid. Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority Fire Fighters and Medics responded and assumed lifesaving care but the man did not survive.

Officers also found a stolen gun in his possession.
Police located the abandoned truck used to flee from the officers near 116th AV and SE 208th St. and discovered that it had been stolen in Kent earlier this morning, in addition to the trailer and excavator.

The suspect is described as 25-30 years old, 5’08” to 5’10”, about 170 pounds, last seen wearing a high visibility vest or jacket.

Earlier this month, citizen action group Let's Go Washington turned in over 400,000 signatures to the Washington Secretary of State’s office, hoping to put Initiative 2113 on the ballot to restore the ability for police to pursue suspects.

The initiative would restore state policy regarding a police officer's ability to pursue criminal suspects based on a "reasonable suspicion” which was removed by the Democratic-controlled Washington Legislature in response to the George Floyd riots which rocked the state in 2020.

HH 1054 required "probable cause" making it so that unless police witnessed a crime, they could not pursue suspects and also prohibited most vehicular pursuits.

Suspects have even called 911 to tell dispatchers to have the police back off because of the law while being pursued by the police.
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