(The Center Square) – The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is publicizing another example of someone who police were not allowed to chase because of Washington’s restrictive pursuit law allegedly doing damage and putting people at risk. This time, the suspect was ultimately apprehended.
“Suspect Who Fled from Deputies on Multiple Occasions, Hit a Pedestrian in a Parking Lot and Committed Several Additional Crimes, Finally Captured,” was the title of the news release that the sheriff’s office sent out.
It tells the story of a man who allegedly used a stolen vehicle to flee from authorities at least four times in a week finally being apprehended by Spokane County Sheriff’s forces working with Spokane Valley Police.
The suspect, identified as 22-year-old Carson M. Mills, was seen in a stolen white Subaru Tuesday in a Spokane Valley Walmart parking lot when Deputy A. Johnson approached the vehicle to question him
Mills then allegedly “threw the car in reverse, hit an electric scooter with a person on it, and fled from the parking lot at a high rate of speed,” according to the release.
Washington’s pursuit law only allows pursuit if there is “probable cause to believe that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a violent offense or sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030, or an escape under chapter 9A.76 RCW” or if there is reasonable suspicion the suspect is driving under the influence, the sheriff’s office explained.
Despite witnessing the suspect hit a pedestrian on a scooter, Johnson did not believe any of those criteria were met and thus was not legally able to pursue the suspect. The day after that incident, on Wednesday, the suspect again allegedly evaded police three more times, once exceeding 60 mph in a 25pmh zone, as well as exceeding 90 mph traveling through a school zone with school buses present.
Officers then flooded the area with police vehicles. They found the stolen vehicle abandoned and eventually apprehended the suspect on foot. He was arrested allegedly in possession of shaved keys commonly used to steal vehicles.
After he was arrested, the 22 year old Mills is said to have admitted to police that he tried to spray paint the stolen white Subaru black, but stopped partway through because he ran out of paint.
When an officer asked why he continued to drive the vehicle after the botched paint job Mills allegedly replied, “Because I had places I needed to go real quick.”
After booking Mills, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office announced via its Facebook page that additional charges of “theft of a firearm, residential burglary, and taking a motor vehicle without permission” were added because of unrelated cases that Mills was arrested for in 2022.
The Spokane County Superior Court set his bond at $70,000.