Spokane Valley Deputy Assaulted by Hit and Run Suspect
Spokane Valley Deputies investigated a hit and run in the 2700 block of N. Cherry Street in Spokane Valley, as a Deputy searching for the suspect made contact with a male matching the suspect’s description. As the investigation continued, the suspect became noncompliant and then violent when the Deputy tried to detain him. Several Deputies responded to the call for emergency assistance, and with their help, the male suspect was taken into custody. He was booked into the Spokane County Jail for felony Assault 3rd Degree, misdemeanor Hit and Run, and misdemeanor Resisting Arrest.
On April 2, 2023, at approximately 8:10 am, Spokane Valley Deputies responded to a reported hit and run crash in the 2700 block of N. Cherry Street. The caller stated he observed a 4-door sedan back into a Dodge Durango in the parking lot of the apartments. The driver and passenger jumped out of the sedan and walked west into a wooded area just north of Marietta. The driver was described as a white male, 40s, 6’, with a medium build, wearing a brown baseball cap, brown jacket, blue jeans, and with what appeared to be a “hump” in his back.
When a Deputy arrived at the scene, the sedan was identified as a gray Ford, and it was determined the Ford backed into Durango, causing the Ford’s airbags to deploy.
While the crash was being investigated, additional Deputies began looking for the suspects.
A Deputy searching the area was flagged over by a citizen reporting he was concerned for the welfare of a female. He said a female was sleeping on the ground on the northwest corner of Mansfield and Pines. He placed a blanket on her because she seemed cold, and he was concerned for her welfare. The Deputy contacted the female, and he was told she was homeless and slept at the location all night. As he spoke with the female, the Deputy observed a male walking from the west toward the Deputy’s direction on Mansfield. The male was wearing a brown jacket, a black beanie, and jeans and had what appeared to be a hump underneath his coat, which matched the witness’s description. The male appeared to be sweating a lot, like he had been running.
The Deputy contacted the male, later identified as 32-year-old Jesse D. Thomas, and explained he matched the description of a hit and run suspect and asked him to identify himself. Thomas complied and stated he had not been involved in an accident. Thomas was informed he was not free to leave due to the active investigation. Thomas was asked to stand in front of the Deputy’s marked patrol car while his name was checked, and again, Thomas complied as additional Deputies began to repost to assist.
At about this time, a female who witnessed the crash and could identify the driver involved pulled in behind the Deputy’s patrol car. She explained Thomas was the person she saw leaving the hit and run location. The Deputy asked the witness to go back to her car and wait.
The Deputy turned his attention back to Thomas and noticed Thomas moved from the front of the patrol car to the sidewalk, and he appeared to be getting nervous. The Deputy told Thomas to put his hands behind his back, took hold of Thomas’ right arm, and that he would be detained in handcuffs. Thomas immediately pulled away and began to walk away. The Deputy told Thomas again to put his hands behind his back and pinned him again the patrol car, but Thomas continued to resist, trying to pull away. Not knowing if Thomas was armed with any weapons, the Deputy requested immediate assistance from responding Deputies.
Believing Thomas heard the witness identify him as the hit and run suspect and with Thomas actively resisting efforts to be handcuffed, the Deputy took him to the ground, attempting to gain control as he gave continual commands to stop resisting. As the struggle continued, it escalated with Thomas punching the Deputy in the head as he gained advantage. The Deputy maintained his hold on Thomas, and a second Deputy arrived to assist, but Thomas continued to fight and resist attempts to place him in handcuffs. Eventually, a Taser was used to end this violent assault, and Thomas was taken into custody.
Spokane Valley Fire arrived to evaluate Thomas, who was later transported to the hospital for additional care and removal of the Taser probes. Once completed, he was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for felony Assault 3rd Degree, misdemeanor Hit and Run, and misdemeanor Resisting Arrest.
The female was determined not to be involved and was released at the scene without charges.
Thankfully, the Deputy only received minor injuries during the assault and continued working his shift.