• Man seeking ride takes city truck, severely injures another driver in crash, police say

    By: Kenny Ocker, The News Tribune


    LAKEWOOD, Wash. - A Lakewood man stole a city public works truck and drunkenly crashed it into an oncoming vehicle Wednesday morning, severely injuring the other driver, Pierce County prosecutors say.

    The 64-year-old was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court on charges of vehicular assault, vehicle theft, obstructing police and operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock. His bail was set at $100,000.

    According to court documents:

    A city of Lakewood Water Department worker drove to a work site at Rose Road and Forest Road about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday to meet with a contractor there.

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    He got about 100 feet away from his city-issued truck when someone shouted to alert him that it was being stolen.

    A short time later, police were dispatched to a crash a couple blocks away in the 15200 block of Portland Avenue Southwest. Officers arrived to find the city truck facing northbound in the far southbound lane with significant damage to its front end. Nearby was another pickup in someone’s front yard, crumpled, with its driver still trapped inside.

    West Pierce Fire & Rescue crews were able to extricate the man, who had broken his left femur and hip, his right wrist and his right foot.

    Meanwhile, the driver of the city truck took off on foot.

    A Lakewood police officer was able to catch the man, pinning him against an SUV, but when the officer went to handcuff him, he tried to sprint away.

    The officer grabbed the collar of the man’s sweatshirt and pulled him back to the ground. It was reported in the documents that the man’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot, and he reeked of alcohol.

    Both the city employee and the witness recognized the man.

    “The same guy approached a worker for a ride yesterday and offered him $50 for a ride to the store,” the city employee wrote in a statement to police.

    The witness told police the man asked him for a ride to the store just before he stole the truck, but he declined to take him.

    After he was arrested, the man told police he took the city truck because his vehicle was dead.

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