Suspected DUI driver heads wrong way on I-5; nearly hits trooper

Updated:

DES MOINES, Wash. - Washington state troopers pursued a suspected DUI driver who was speeding and waving a shirt out the window as he drove the wrong way on Interstate 5 and nearly hit a trooper.

The 35-year-old man was seen heading north in the southbound lanes near the King-Pierce County line late Tuesday morning.

Police said the driver was traveling at about 80 mph.  It was originally believed that he had his foot out the window of his vehicle, but he had actually been waving a shirt.  When a police officer reported it, the dispatcher misunderstood and repeated it as foot. 

 Southbound I-5 was closed for a time during the pursuit.

 Officers stopped the driver near Highway 99 in the Kent-Des Moines area.

Troopers used the PIT maneuver to  push his car onto the an embankment. 

 He was taken into custody and is under investigation for DUI.

"It's kind of weird that it was in the middle of the day and not at night," said eyewitness Lindsey Machale. "We're thinking that it was a drunk driver, but what is it? Noon?"

At some point, the driver nearly ran down a trooper, police said.

"One of our motorcycle officers was in the area and proceeded to head towards it," said Washington State Patrol trooper Julie Judson. "Almost had a head-on collision with it."

"We're very fortunate," Judson added. "It definitely could have turned out very poorly for our motor officer. So, for the general public and him, I'm very glad that we were able to avoid any collisions." 

A WSDOT camera showed that the exit to State Route 516 on southbound I-5 was closed and multiple police cruisers were at the scene.