Driver arrested in 100 mph police chase allegedly told deputies to shoot him

Deputy used Taser to subdue man

Posted 2/26/21

The Port Angeles man jailed for trying to elude police during a chase that exceeded 100 mph on U.S. Highway 101 Thursday morning in Jefferson County allegedly told officers they would have to shoot …

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Driver arrested in 100 mph police chase allegedly told deputies to shoot him

Deputy used Taser to subdue man

Posted

The Port Angeles man jailed for trying to elude police during a chase that exceeded 100 mph on U.S. Highway 101 Thursday morning in Jefferson County allegedly told officers they would have to shoot him before he was arrested.

Justin James Radisich, 27, made his first appearance in Jefferson County Superior Court Friday.

Radisich remains in Jefferson County Jail pending his arraignment next week on three felony charges; possession of a stolen firearm; unlawful second-degree possession of a firearm; and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Radisich was arrested Thursday morning after fleeing from an attempted traffic stop by the Washington State Patrol between Sequim and 7 Cedars Casino.

He was later arrested by deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on Highway 104 after his 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer hit a spike strip and was rammed to a halt by a pursuing patrol car.

Radisich refused to get out of the SUV when it was stopped, according to court documents, and deputies saw him reach into a multi-colored bag and pull out a plastic container that held blue-and-white pills.

Radisich grabbed an unknown amount of pills, a deputy wrote in his report, and began "dumping them in his mouth."

He then allegedly pulled out a piece of tinfoil and tried to smoke more drugs off the tinfoil as deputies continued to tell him to get out of the SUV.

"You're going to have to shoot me!" Radisich allegedly shouted as deputies tried to get him out of the Chevrolet.

On the other side of the vehicle, a deputy pulled a passenger from the vehicle and then grabbed a handgun that had been sitting on the seat.

Another deputy smashed the driver's side window to try to get Radisich out of the vehicle, and the deputy on the passenger's side of the SUV then shot Radisich with his Taser.

With Radisich immobilized, the deputy who had fired the Taser reached across and unlocked the driver's side door, and Radisich was removed from the Chevy.

Police believe the pills that Radisich had in his possession were M-30s; fentanyl-laced pills that are made to resemble Oxycodone pills.

Deputies determined the pistol found in the Trailblazer was a Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun that had been stolen in Tacoma in 2019.

A passenger in the Chevy said that during the pursuit, Radisich had asked him to get his gun in case Radisich had to use it when they stopped, according to court documents.

At Radisich's court appearance Friday, bail was set at $100,000.

"The state is gravely concerned about both Mr. Radisich's future appearances and the safety of the community," said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Julie St. Marie.

"This looks to be one of the most egregious eludes in terms of endangering others that I've seen," she said.

Radisich had a third-degree suspended license and multiple warrants had been issued for his arrest before he was taken into custody Thursday.

The State Patrol had to tried to pull over Radisich on Highway 101 in Sequim shortly before 7:30 a.m. Thursday, but stopped the pursuit when speeds exceeded 100 mph and Radisich began to drive erratically.

Jefferson County deputies were in the Discovery Bay area when dispatchers noted another call that reported a vehicle with a similar description and license plate number was passing semi-trailer trucks on the shoulder of the road.

Deputies saw the Chevy Trailblazer heading east toward them, traveling at the speed limit but swerving over the centerline and the road shoulder as if the driver was looking for a way to pass other vehicles on the road.

Two deputies followed the Chevy without their lights or sirens activated as a Jefferson County detective set up spike strips on Highway 104 near Milepost 6.

The pursuing sheriff deputies then turned on their sirens and emergency lights, but Radisich wouldn't pull over and sped up to 80 mph in the 60 mph zone and passed a semi-trailer truck.

A tire on the Chevy went flat from hitting a spike strip, but the driver continue to try to get away.

Police cleared other vehicles from the highway and then used a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver to get the Chevy to stop.

In court Friday, St. Marie noted Radisich's criminal history — he had five felony convictions on illegal drug possession alone, she said — and warrants in eight different cases.

A significant bond was needed, she said, so Radisich would show up in court if he were released.

Superior Court Judge Keith Harper agreed. 

"$100,000 is appropriate given Mr. Radisich's history and the danger presented," Harper said.

Radisich will be arraigned March 5 on charges of possession of a stolen firearm; unlawful second-degree possession of a firearm; and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

The addition count of the unlawful possession of a firearm stemmed from Radisich's conviction in 2016 of making a death threat.

Possession of a stolen firearm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine upon conviction, while the maximum for unlawful second-degree possession of a firearm is five years and a $10,000 fine.

Attempting to elude a police vehicle can result in a maximum five years in prison and $10,000 fine upon conviction.

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