The Washington State Patrol used its Cessna aircraft to help troopers on the ground crack down on illegal street racing and vehicles fleeing from traffic stops during a recent Friday night in South King County.
“April 28 was a busy night for the Washington State Patrol in King County with fleeing vehicles and the local, regional and national issue of street racing and (intersection) takeovers,” according to a May 8 State Patrol news release about its operation last month.
The State Patrol decided to use its aviation section (based out of the Olympia Airport) to help address the number of vehicles fleeing attempted traffic stops.
The agency described four incidents, along State Route 167 in the Kent, Auburn and Southcenter areas, each which led to arrests using the trooper/pilots following and guiding ground units to suspect vehicles.
• Incident No. 1 – WSP aircraft observed a vehicle traveling southbound on State Route 167 in Auburn at 97 mph and passing on the shoulder. They followed the vehicle as it exited the freeway and at one point in time seemed to be racing other vehicles. The vehicle ended up in a drive-thru and when it exited troopers were able to arrest the driver.
• Incident No. 2 – This incident is where a vehicle was doing doughnuts in front of a trooper in Kent. The vehicle fled an attempted traffic stop and was followed by the aircraft. After the aircraft followed the vehicle all over the Southcenter area the ground units were led to where the vehicle parked near a warehouse and the driver was taken into custody.
• Incident No. 3 – The aircraft spotted a vehicle northbound on SR 167 traveling at 107 mph heading to what was believed to be a racer meetup. The vehicle fled an attempted traffic stop by a trooper and was followed by the aircraft where speeds reached 118 mph. The vehicle was followed all over the Southcenter area until it reached a meetup where a number of vehicles were blocking the road. The vehicle was trapped by the other vehicles and troopers were able to make an arrest.
• Incident No. 4 – A trooper followed several street racers and attempted to stop one for speeding. The vehicle fled into east Auburn into a residential area and entered a home. Troopers arrived at the residence and were able to talk the driver and passenger out of the house. The trooper in the aircraft was able to ID the driver by the hoodie they were wearing and a lanyard hanging out of their pocket. The driver was subsequently arrested.