Extremely Reckless Suspect Flees Idaho Law Enforcement Eventually Arrested Following Pursuit Ended by PIT Maneuver
Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies, with the assistance of Washington State Patrol (WSP) Troopers, arrested an impaired driver after a pursuit was ended by a Deputy who successfully performed a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver. The suspect was booked into the Spokane County Jail for two felony counts of Eluding and DUI.
The suspect’s criminal and dangerous actions began in Idaho earlier in the evening, where he fled several agencies and could face multiple felony charges of Aggravated Battery on Law Enforcement for ramming Idaho State Police cars, Eluding, and DUI during the incident.
On March 9, 2024, at approximately 11:20 pm, Spokane Regional Emergency Communications (SRECS) advised area law enforcement that a black Chevrolet Volt fled for Idaho State Police, and the pursuit entered Spokane County. Local agencies attempted to assist but did not pursue after ISP discontinued their pursuit near Division and I-90. The Volt was last seen, without headlights, traveling north on Division Street at a high rate of speed. Units were advised that the driver, later identified as 43-year-old Clement M. Cordova, was possibly DUI, which was why ISP pursued.
Note: Idaho State has different laws regarding pursuits compared to Washington State. Each agency in Washington and Idaho has differing policies on how Troopers, Deputies, and Officers can engage or participate in pursuits under their respective state laws. Our Deputies did not pursue at the time because we were not directly requested to assist, and after ISP terminated their units, we did not have independent reasonable suspicion or probable cause to initiate a pursuit under Washington State RCW 10.116.060.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy D. Hicks and Deputy T. Smith began searching information in computer databases and learned Cordova had family in North Spokane and began searching the area.
Now March 10, 2023, just before 12:30 am, Deputy Hicks was traveling south on Division at Lyons and observed the Volt (matching license plate) going north on Division. As the car passed, he identified Cordova as the driver and turned his fully marked patrol car around.
Cordova turned into Maverick, 6710 N. Division, as Deputy Hicks followed without his emergency lights activated. Cordova drove extremely slow through the parking lot while jerking the steering wheel back and forth erratically. Cordova pulled onto Lyons, then turned north on Division as he varied his speed from 30 to 60 mph. With Cordova’s dangerous and erratic behavior, Deputy Hicks activated his emergency lights and siren just south of Cozza. Cordova signed to turn east on Cozza and quickly accelerated to 60 mph.
With no vehicle or pedestrian traffic, Deputy Hicks received a supervisor’s approval to pursue and potentially use a PIT Maneuver if the conditions were correct per policy. Cordova continued fleeing through side streets, eventually making his way back to Division at Lincoln, where he turned north and accelerated to approximately 70 mph. As he turned north on Newport Highway, he hit the center median and accelerated to 90 mph as he passed Hawthorne.
At approximately 12:33 am, the supervisor terminated the pursuit due to the high speed and potential danger to the public. Cordova activated his hazard lights and continued north through the roundabout, 12020 N. Newport Highway. Cordova’s continued actions appeared to indicate he was driving recklessly and dangerously, trying to “bait” law enforcement into a pursuit.
At approximately 1:00 am, Sergeant G. Criswell received information ISP had probable cause for several counts of “Aggravated Battery” on law enforcement stemming from their contact with Cordova a couple of hours prior, where he rammed several of their occupied patrol cars as he evaded arrest. (This information was not known to SCSO until this time, and well after Deputy Hicks was advised to terminate his pursuit.) After determining that the probable cause of Aggravated Assault in Idaho equated to at least Assault 2nd, if not Assault 1st in Washington, which would allow a pursuit to continue under Washington State RCW 10.116.060, Sergeant Criswell advised patrol units via radio that they had permission to pursue Cordova in he was located again.
Seconds later, Sergeant Criswell spotted the Volt traveling south on Highway 2 near the N. Division “Y”. As he turned around, Cordova accelerated and made a U-turn to go north on Highway 395. Sergeant Criswell activated his emergency lights and siren and pursued Cordova for several miles, reaching 70 to 100 mph in a 55 mph zone. Cordova continued to show an extreme lack of concern for his safety or the safety of others traveling in the area. He had difficulty maintaining control of his car, crossing over, or traveling on the centerline at least twice.
Near North Road, Cordova slowed to approximately 25 mph and appeared to begin to make a U-turn to go back southbound on Hwy. 395. Realizing the opportunity to safely conduct a PIT Maneuver and end Cordova’s dangerous criminal behavior before he killed or severely injured himself or others, Sergeant Criswell moved in and initiated a successful PIT, causing Cordova’s vehicle to spin and come to a stop. With the assistance of WSP Troops and Deputies, Cordova was taken into custody without further incident.
Cordova was provided medical treatment, and a warrant to obtain a blood sample was granted.
During an inventory search of the Volt, several empty cans of Twisted Tea and prescription bottles prescribed to Cordova were located inside the car before it was towed.
After being medically cleared, he was booked into the Spokane County Jail for two counts of felony Attempt to Elude a Police Vehicle and DUI. His total bond on these charges was set at $25,000 by Spokane County Superior Court Judge J. Cooney.
These charges are only for our (Sheriff’s Office) two pursuits. Additional charges from other agencies in Washington could be filed by those agencies if appropriate. Any charges stemming from the Idaho incidents will be filed in that jurisdiction by the agencies involved.