BOTHELL — A carjacking suspect climbed a tree south of Mill Creek on Wednesday after he fled police and a civilian’s gunfire.
He stayed in the tree for a few hours before slowly limping down a fire truck ladder with an apparent leg injury.
It started when a motorcycle rider reportedly rode past a state trooper at 114 mph around 10:20 a.m., northbound on I-405 in Bothell, said Washington State Patrol Sgt. Keith Leary. The State Patrol declined to chase the speeding motorcycle. Moments later the rider crashed near the interchange with Highway 527 in Bothell.
A trauma nurse, Kristin Ibershof, 48, of Sultan, said she was driving past the interchange when the biker passed her, struck a couple of other vehicles and crashed into a guardrail. She stopped to see if the motorcyclist was OK, but he had already run away, she said.
The suspect approached a person who was standing beside a white sedan at a hotel parking lot and stole that person’s car by force, Bothell police Capt. Mike Johnson said. The suspect drove off on Highway 527.
Witnesses reported someone fired gunshots at the scene. It turned out a civilian had shot out one of the stolen car’s rear tires, police said. The flat tire apparently forced the man to abandon the sedan near 180th Street SE, about three miles from the hotel.
Police emphasized that they do not encourage members of the public to fire at fleeing suspects and advised people to call 911 instead.
Witnesses saw a man climbing a tree near Highway 527, near a crane and rigging business. Troopers, sheriff’s deputies and Bothell police surrounded him. He was about 60 feet above the ground.
A police negotiator spoke with the man. Officers treated him as if he could be armed.
“Basically we’re in a wait-out,” state trooper Heather Axtman said shortly before noon. “… We’ve got all day and all night.”
The wait was more than three hours. The man began climbing down a fire department ladder around 1:20 p.m. and descended slowly over the next hour. It appeared he was being careful not to put weight on one of his legs.
He reached the ground well after 2 p.m. and was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injured leg. The extent of his injury was not immediately known.
The man was believed to be in his early 30s.