Driver Slams Into Patrol Cars/Building in Attempt to Flee
Spokane Valley Deputies responding to a welfare/medical call, blocked the suspected impaired driver’s vehicle in with their fully marked patrol cars. The adult male driver regained consciousness, put the vehicle in reverse, and slammed into the patrol cars before placing the vehicle in drive and ramming a building. Deputies deployed stop sticks and kept the vehicle pinned, stopping the suspect from fleeing in the car, potentially creating an extreme risk to motorists and pedestrians in the area. The driver was arrested on several charges and booked into jail. Although in the same apparent impaired condition as the driver, the adult female passenger was released without charges lacking probable cause to arrest her for a crime.
On April 25, 2023, at approximately 12:05 pm, Spokane Valley Deputies responded to a welfare check in the 9300 block of E. Montgomery Avenue. The caller said a male and female passed out in the parking lot in a gray/silver Hyundai Sonata. The pair appeared to be high/intoxicated, and the caller was concerned they might be overdosing.
As Deputies responded to the location, Deputy Woolard advised there was recent history (04/06/23, 04/07/23) of a similarly described vehicle occupied by a white male and female fleeing (eluding) Deputies when they tried to stop it.
Deputy Woolard was the first to arrive in her fully marked patrol car. She found the car parked on the backside of the business, facing the building. At first, she could not see anyone in the vehicle because they were slumped over so far in the seats. Within seconds, Deputy Woolard caught a glimpse of the male driver, who appeared to be under the influence of an illegal narcotic.
From experience, believing the driver in this condition may attempt to flee, causing an extreme risk to the public, Deputy Woolard began coordinating a response with other Deputies to contact the occupants safely and limit any possibility of escape. When Deputy Gallaher arrived, they placed both their fully marked patrol cars, with emergency lights activated, behind the Sonata, very close to its bumper. Stop sticks were positioned under its tires to help prevent a high-speed escape.
The driver, identified as 34-year-old John T. Walker, appeared to wake up, look around, and should have been able to clearly see the marked patrol cars. Deputies began giving commands for Walker to show his hands, but he did not comply and decided to put the car in reverse, backing into the bumpers of both patrol cars. Walker then put the car in drive, turned the steering wheel to the right, and accelerated into the building.
Walker continued to defy commands and flee, despite Deputy Jones standing in clear view of Walker in the direction he was attempting to drive. Due to Walker's actions, they believed he was a serious danger to the public and Deputies; if he could free the vehicle and flee, they pinned Walker’s car against the building with a patrol car.
Deputies removed Walker from the vehicle as he continued to resist while trying to flee. After a struggle, he was eventually taken into custody, and the adult female passenger was detained.
A piece of tin foil with a black residue and two blue circular pills, believed to contain Fentanyl, were removed from Walker’s hand after he was placed in handcuffs. Other similar types of drug paraphernalia were observed in the vehicle.
Walker was provided medical care, and a blood sample for testing was obtained once a search warrant to granted.
Lacking probable cause to arrest the female passenger for a crime, she was released at the scene.
Two Deputies received minor injuries during the struggle with Walker but are expected to recover fully.
Walker was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle (felony) and misdemeanors of DUI, Resisting Arrest, and Hit and Run, Property Damage.