Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Two weeks after the Seattle bus rampage, the suspect has yet to be charged. That’s why

Two weeks have passed since the 21-year-old from Seattle was arrested on charges of hijacking an unoccupied bus in Sodo and deliberately ramming numerous vehicles at high speed before crashing into a bus stop in Judkins Park on October 26.

Although the judge found the man to be a danger to society, he was released from prison on October 29 and has not yet been charged with a criminal offense. Cause? Seattle police detectives have yet to submit documents to support criminal charges being filed with the King County Attorney’s Office.

The Seattle Police Department’s ongoing staffing crisis, coupled with a temporary reshuffle of personnel to cover 93 officers seeking medical or religious exemption from the city’s COVID-19 vaccine, are obvious reasons for the delay.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durcan has demanded that all city employees working on site be vaccinated against COVID by October 18 – and Seattle’s interim police chief Adrian Diaz has mobilized the department ahead of that deadline.

As of September, more than 300 SPD officers have left the SPD in what Diaz called an “unprecedented exodus,” with many former officers citing lack of support from city officials as their reason for leaving after last year’s civil rights protests and subsequent protests. calls to exonerate the police. Only about 100 officers were hired.

From October 13 to November 5, Diaz ordered a “third phase mobilization,” requiring detectives from many specialized and support units across the department to go on patrols to ensure there are enough officers to answer emergency calls, the sergeant’s spokesman said. Randy Hucerik.

It’s not that the cases won’t be referred to prosecutors on criminal charges – they just haven’t been sent yet as the detectives didn’t return to work until Monday, Hucerik said.

Hucerik has not received the latest update on the officers who applied for the vaccine exemption.

The case of a man who allegedly stole a bus from a transport company based in Sodo, drove into cars and forced pedestrians to disperse during a 3-mile police chase, is being investigated by the SPD General Investigation Department, whose detectives have also been on patrol in recent weeks, Hucerik said. …

“If this case had been sent to us, we would have reviewed it (for a charge decision) the same day we received it,” said Casey McNertney, spokesman for Attorney Dan Sutterberg.

At the time, police said the bus hit cars in the vicinity of Beacon Hill and Central District and then crashed at a light rail construction site near 23rd Avenue South and South Judkins Street. The driver fled, but was quickly arrested.

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The next day, October 27, a King County District Court judge found the probable reason for the man’s arrest in connection with the investigation of a car theft and second-degree lethal weapon attack and set bail at $ 200,000, according to prosecutors.

But Seattle police did not refer the case to prosecutors for a charge within 72 hours of his arrest, so the man was released from King County Jail on October 29 without bail, according to prosecutors and prison records.

Under state law, defendants cannot be detained for more than 72 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, unless they are prosecuted. The Seattle Times does not name the person because the newspaper usually does not name people who have not been charged with a crime.

According to the probable cause statement, which lays out a Seattle police case against the 21-year-old, he worked as a temporary assistant at TransWest, a Sodo-based company that operates vans, shuttles, buses and tour buses. (Although it was originally reported that the stolen bus was a school bus, it was actually a white commercial bus at TransWest Park.)

Hired on October 25, he arrived at the South Spokane Street TransWest site the next morning, walked into a repair shed and asked for the keys to one of the cars, the statement said, and witnesses later said the man was “nervous.” “And” behave strangely. ” After receiving the keys, the man allegedly got on the bus and left the parking lot at a speed of 30 to 40 miles per hour.

Another employee stood at the entrance to the parking lot and waved his arms over his head in an attempt to slow the driver down, the statement said the probable cause. The officer’s leg was injured after being hit by the bumper of a bus and later told the police that he would have been killed if he had not moved out of the way.

During the 7-minute chase more than 3.1 miles, Seattle police “witnessed him deliberately pulling off the road and oncoming traffic to hit cars,” the statement said.

The driver of the hijacked bus hit the Metro bus and then headed to the bus stop, from where several people were forced to flee, the statement said. It says that the hijacked bus not only hit at least 15 other vehicles, but also crashed into a bus stop.

Before entering the King County Jail, the man was examined by a police drug recognition expert who determined that the 21-year-old was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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