SPOKANE VALLEY – On August 25, 2022, at approximately 6:55 pm., Spokane Valley Deputy A. Johnson observed two males riding motorcycles recklessly north on Progress Road from Sprague Avenue. Attempting to caught up to the motorcycles, Deputy Johnson relocated them on E. Mission Avenue and Progress Road. They accelerated rapidly westbound on Mission, reaching speeds visually estimated to be 80 mph.
Deputy Johnson again acquired the motorcycles stopped at a red light on Evergreen Road and I-90. Deputy Johnson moved in behind the motorcycles and activated his emergency equipment to attempt a traffic stop. He noted the motorcycles had their license plates bent upward, making them difficult to read.
The riders, later identified as 18-year-old Mikalai M. Belavus and 19-year-old Rouvim P. Kopets, looked back at the fully marked patrol car. Belavus and Kopets decided to flee instead of immediately pulling over as required by Washington State law.
Both riders continued west on Indiana Avenue at speeds visually estimated to be 100 mph.
Spokane SRASU Air 2, already up on a patrol flight, quickly acquired the recklessly fleeing motorcycles from high above, providing ground units with location information, which allowed them to follow at a distance and a safe speed.
Air 2 noted the rider’s reckless and dangerous behavior as they passed vehicles in a bike lane, failed to obey red lights, drove at high rates of speed, crossed over double yellow lines to pass other motorists, almost struck another vehicle head-on, and multiple other violations, risking their own safety and the safety of others traveling on the roadways.
This reckless and dangerous behavior continued for approximately 18-minutes without patrol vehicles behind them.
Eventually, Belavus and Kopets pulled over, parked at a gravel pit, 15928 N. Forker, and waited for Air 2 to guide Deputies to their location. When Deputy T. Kullman and Deputy Johnson arrived, Belavus and Kopets were taken into custody without further incident.
After being advised of his rights, Kopets admitted to driving recklessly and looking back at Deputy Johnson’s patrol car with its emergency lights activated, stating, “I definitely saw you, sir.” During the attempt to flee, he drove at speeds over 100 mph, admitting he was acting dumb and didn’t want to get caught. He noticed a helicopter and assumed it was a police helicopter but believed he could outrun it. During the interview, Deputy Johnson noted Kopets appeared remorseful for his actions.
Belavus, being advised of his rights, admitted to driving recklessly and looking back at Deputy Johnson’s patrol car with its emergency lights activated. While attempting to flee, he drove at speeds over 100 mph, noticed a helicopter, and assumed it was a police helicopter, but believed he could outrun it. He explained that he fled from the traffic stop because he didn’t have a motorcycle endorsement. Deputy Johnson noted during the interview, Belavus laughed and seemed to show no remorse for his actions. On the way to jail, he made a statement similar to, “No Phone for however long, this sucks.”
Belavus and Kopets were transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for felony Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement Vehicle and Reckless Driving, a misdemeanor.
Without the assistance of Air 2, Belavus and Kopets would have successfully evaded Deputies. However, with the help of Air 2, they were followed at a safe distance, despite their continued dangerous/reckless driving behavior, and eventually arrested. Thankfully no one, the suspects, Deputies, or any uninvolved motorists, were injured during this incident.
For this incident, the Air 2 Flight Crew consisted of Volunteer Pilot Don Kresse, TFO Deputy C. Giacomini, and TFO Detective J. Karnitz.