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Suspect's dash, high speed chase ends in Oak Harbor crash
A high-speed chase Thursday morning originating in Oak Harbor and eventually involving city, county and state law enforcement officers ended in a collision.
The crash, which occurred on Troxell Road, sent the driver of the pursued car and a passenger to the hospital with injuries.
The driver of the vehicle, 19-year-old Oak Harbor resident Eddie Wright, was being held Friday in Island County jail after being released from the hospital. He went to jail on probable cause for a series of charges, including vehicular assault, hit-and-run involving a police vehicle, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and malicious mischief for damage done to the Oak Harbor police car.
Island County prosecutor Greg Banks said Friday three separate agencies are involved in the investigation, with a full report expected to be delivered early next week. Wright is being held on $50,000 bail, Banks said.
"Basically, we're just waiting to get full reports in," he said.
Investigating officials have until Tuesday to file reports so Wright can be formally charged and taken to court.
"These cases sometimes, there's so much technical work that has to go into them, it takes a while for all the reports to get assembled," Banks said.
Banks said Wright has a history of entanglements with local law enforcement, including a conviction in April for driving with a suspended license and obstructing a police officer. Wright also pled guilty in April to a charge of fourth-degree assault.
The passenger in the suspect's car, a female minor whose name is being withheld, was also injured in the accident. No further information has been supplied by investigating officials, and no charges have been filed against her.
According to Oak Harbor police captain Rick Wallace, the chase started in a the northeast section of the city around 8:40 a.m. after Wright refused to pull over for a routine traffic stop.
The officer continued after the car, a late-model Mitsubishi, "until it became clear to the officer that the subject was attempting to ellude him," Wallace said Thursday morning. This was in the area of Crescent Harbor Elementary School.
Simultaneous to the pursuit was a call from school officials reporting shots fired, though Wallace said an investigation found no evidence of gun play.
"We didn't find any evidence of this person firing any weapons," he said.
The school was locked down for the time being, due to both to the report of shots and the danger presented to students by the proximity of the chase.
When the car was ascertained to be moving toward the northeast limits of the city by a second Oak Harbor patrol officer, two units of Island County Sheriff's Office took over pursuit, at times hitting speeds of 90 miles per hour.
The suspect eventually crashed into an embankment off Highway 20 after trying to make a 90-degree turn heading northeast onto Troxell Road.
A witness to the crash was Sue Adams, who works at Soundview Espresso, a drive-through coffee house located near the intersection of Highway 20 and Troxell Rd. Adams said she first saw a sheriff's car go speeding past. "He must have been going 100 miles an hour," she said.
The next car to attempt the corner was the suspect's.
"I knew there was no way he was going to make it," Adams said. "He was going too fast."
She said she didn't hear anything when the car hit the embankment, "but I did see wire flying in the air. The driver ran out and the deputy started chasing him," she said.
"My first thought was he had done something really bad to run."
The state patrol is currently investigating the crash, according to Trooper Norm Larsen.
Larsen said several charges are pending against Wright, and that several agencies are engaged in piecing together exactly what happened.
"Everybody has a little part," Larsen said Friday. "Our end is really just the collision."
Banks said it's likely that Wright will be charged with multiple crimes, possibly as soon as Monday.
"There's a pretty likely case for attempting to elude," Banks said. "There may be a charge for vehicular assault. That will depend on the severity of the injuries. That's one piece that we don't have very much information on yet."
Banks added that charges may also be filed regarding the Oak Harbor police vehicle that was struck in the early moments of the chase.
"That's potentially a charge of hit and run," he said.
Features editor Susan Mador contributed to this article.