WHATCOM – At approximately 4:20 p.m. Thursday, April 14, Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a stolen vehicle traveling in the area of Henry and Kickerville roads.
According to a media release from Deb Slater, community programs coordinator with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, deputies attempted to contact the driver of the vehicle at the intersection of Slater Road and Haxton Way while the vehicle was stopped at a red light.
“Instead, the driver of the stolen vehicle rammed a deputy’s patrol car head-on,” the media release stated. “The driver then backed up and again rammed into the same patrol car a second time, moving the patrol car sideways on the roadway. The driver accelerated and maneuvered around the damaged patrol car and fled northbound on Haxton Way.”
According to the WCSO release, deputies “followed with lights and sirens engaged.”
“The driver continued to elude law enforcement, traveling at about 40-50 miles per hour,” the release stated. “Spike strips were deployed, successfully deflating all tires on the vehicle. The vehicle was safely stopped by a PIT maneuver by deputies in a Ferndale neighborhood. An involved deputy sustained minor injuries.”
The driver, 27-year-old Jessica Shockey from Blaine, was taken into custody without incident and booked into Whatcom County Jail for two counts of first-degree assault, attempting to elude a police vehicle, and third-degree possession of stolen property.
According to data from Washington State Patrol, vehicle thefts have increased in 2022.
The number of motor vehicles reported stolen countywide in Whatcom County (not just in unincorporated areas) exceeds statewide increases.
A comparison of auto theft cases for year-to-date 2021 (prior to legislation taking effect) and 2022 reflect an increase of more than 331%.
A comparison of March 2021 to March 2022 alone reflects a 600% increase which demonstrates this problem continues to rise.
Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said he attributes the increase in reported vehicle theft to “2021 legislation that prohibits law enforcement from pursuing stolen vehicles and inadequate jail space that has resulted in an inability to hold most property crime offenders in custody.
“At this point, consequences for stealing cars are very limited, thieves are emboldened and, in this case, were brazen enough to commit a felonious assault upon a deputy who tried to stop the vehicle,” Elfo said.