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HomeBusinessSpeedy delivery of FOI documents from Washington State Patrol after Peace Arch incident 

Speedy delivery of FOI documents from Washington State Patrol after Peace Arch incident 

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Bob Mackin

It took one day for the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to provide the investigation report from a June 18 chase that ended at the Peace Arch Border Crossing.

Peace Arch on the border of Washington and B.C. (Mackin)

A 30-year-old Seattle man was booked on charges of attempting to elude a police vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, theft and assault.

WSP responded to a June 21 freedom of information request on June 22 with a copy of the investigating officer’s report. Only the suspect’s driver’s licence number was censored. 

Under Washington State law, public bodies are provided five business days to disclose records or notify the applicant that more time is needed. It could take up to 30 business days for a B.C. municipal police force to respond or 30 calendar days for the RCMP. A police department may refuse access to information if it believes disclosure could harm an investigation. 

WSP Trooper Cameron MacKinnon’s report said the incident began around 5 p.m. with a theft at the T.J. Maxx store in the Cordata Shopping Centre and the BB gun shooting of a loss prevention officer. But Bellingham Police Department (BPD) officers could not find the three suspects or their getaway car, a white Hyundai Santa Fe with Washington State plates that had been stolen from Seattle. 

BPD asked WSP for help. MacKinnon found the car, which pulled into a Dollar Tree store parking lot in the Meridian Village shopping centre. A male passenger fled when he saw MacKinnon, who used the patrol vehicle to block the Hyundai. MacKinnon’s report said he stood 10 feet away from the vehicle, had his gun in the “low ready position,” made direct eye contact with the driver and ordered him to exit the vehicle. 

“The driver immediately placed the Hyundai in reverse to push against the front of my patrol vehicle in an attempt to escape. The driver then drove forward and over the sidewalk, crashing into the front of the Dollar Tree store. This gave the driver additional room to maneuver the Hyundai and he began screeching the tires aggressively. I re-entered my patrol vehicle as the driver now had an imminent means and ability of escape.”

The vehicle got away, in excess of 160 kilometres per hour, northbound on Interstate 5. There was an on-again, off-again pursuit by MacKinnon and BPD officers. He last observed the vehicle at 5:19 p.m., when his supervisor terminated the chase due to extreme speed and moderate traffic conditions. 

Six minutes later, the Hyundai was reported approaching the Peace Arch and being driven recklessly through the grassy median.

“911 callers reported the Hyundai struck several vehicles in the border lineup. I arrived at the Peace Arch Border at 17:31 hours and observed the Hyundai wrecked out in the median. The Hyundai was positioned approximately 100 yards north of the Peace Arch Monument on the Canadian side,” MacKinnon wrote. 

“I was advised the male was last seen running northbound further into Canada. Canadian Customs quickly apprehended the male and took him into custody. The male was immediately handed over to U.S. Customs and brought into the American Peace Arch Crossing station.”

MacKinnon’s report said the male was the same one who occupied the driver’s seat of the stolen car at the Dollar Tree. U.S. Customs officers fingerprinted and photographed the suspect and turned him over to MacKinnon, who handcuffed him, read him his rights and drove him to the BPD. The suspect declined knowledge of the Hyundai or the vehicular pursuit. 

The Hyundai’s ignition had been punched out and sustained moderate damage on the passenger side. The rear was full of stolen merchandise, “making it nearly impossible for there to have been a rear seat passenger. There were no additional pedestrians reported to be running away from the stolen Hyundai at the border crossing.”

There was no reportable damage to the Dollar Tree store. The front bumper of the patrol car sustained damage, but the trooper was not injured.  

As of midday June 23, the Whatcom County jail roster, which is a public database, showed the accused, Jordan Joshua Richardson, was still in custody. 

Richardson’s residential address on the report matches that of a downtown Seattle social service agency. 

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