Mental health patient flees ER, steals car, leads police in chase

A mental health patient left the hospital against doctor’s orders, stole a car, led police on a high-speed chase and rammed into a cop car early Wednesday morning, according to court documents.

Caleb A. Alford, 25, appeared in Island County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon. Judge Vickie Churchill found probable cause existed to believe he committed the crimes of attempting to elude pursuing police vehicles, taking a motor vehicle without permission and assault in the second degree.

Chief Criminal Prosecutor Eric Ohme asked the judge to set Alford’s bail at $100,000 because he presented a threat to the community and a flight risk. Churchill agreed.

According to a report by a deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy was in Coupeville helping other officers with finding a mental health patient who had fled the emergency room at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center.

The deputy saw a silver Buick traveling at an estimated 70 mph in a 25 mph zone on South Main Street.

After a high-speed chase, the Buick traveled slowly on Highway 20 with several police cars following behind.

The Buick eventually pulled to the shoulder, the deputy wrote. Another deputy pulled in front of the car to block it, then the Buick suddenly accelerated and rammed into the right passenger side of the deputy’s car.

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