Man tries to dodge police with swim in Grays Harbor

A 22-year-old Lakewood man is in custody after driving the wrong way down several roads and attempting to escape police by jumping into Grays Harbor.

Reports came in around 9 p.m. Friday of a black Subaru Forester driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of Hwy 12 near Montesano. The vehicle wasn’t spotted by authorities until a Hoquiam police officer caught it on radar going 50 mph in a 30 mph area, Sgt. Jeff Salstrom said. Dispatch informed Hoquiam police it was the same vehicle.

The driver initially stopped, but when the officer got out of his vehicle the man sped off.

“We pursued him onto Bay Avenue to 22nd Street, and then at 22nd Street he went to Simpson Avenue and went the wrong way over the Simpson Avenue bridge,” Salstrom said.

The officers stopped pursuit, but officers on the other side of the bridge picked up the chase. The man continued toward Bowerman Airport, stopping on Moon Island Road, leaving his vehicle and jumping into Grays Harbor.

Salstrom said the man swam about 20 yards before officers told him to come back or they would send their police dog, Enno, out after him. The man returned to shore and was taken into custody without further incident.

Salstrom added that the man’s criminal history included violent felony convictions and indicated he may be a career armed criminal. He said there was no sign of intoxication, and police are still unsure why he was driving as he was.

“He’s not real cooperative at this point, he’s not willing to give us much information on why he was doing what he was doing,” Salstrom said.