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Driver who allegedly rammed Idaho police vehicles caught by Washington State troopers

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office says the incident is another example of someone whom police were almost not allowed to chase because of Washington’s restrictive pursuit law.

Published: March 14, 2023 1:21am

Updated: March 14, 2023 10:14am

Washington's Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is calling attention to an incident this past weekend that it says is another instance of restrictive state law that almost prevented officers from pursing a suspect in a vehicle.

The pursuit early Saturday morning began in Idaho and would have ended with the suspect evading authorities were it not for some luck and quick communication between various law enforcement departments, the office said Monday.

The suspect, 43-year-old Clement M. Cordova, was seen in Spokane driving a black Chevy Volt without headlights at a high rate of speed.

At about 12:30 a.m. a sheriff deputy observed the vehicle, according to a news release by the office.

The officer was approved by supervisors for a Pursuit Intervention Technique, or PIT maneuver, a tactic used by law enforcement in which a cruiser bumps the rear end of a vehicle to the left or right – causing it to lose traction, spin out and stop.

However, due to the increased danger to the public because of traffic, supervisors called off the pursuit about three minutes later, which resulted in the officer deactivated his emergency lights and sirens but still pursing the vehicle at a safe speed and distance with hazard lights active.

This is where the pursuit could have ended and, with previous suspects escaping multiple times in the same week as previously reported by The Center Square, it’s possible Cordova would have escaped the authorities.

However, at about 1 a.m., the sheriff's office received information from the Idaho State Patrol that gave probable cause for aggravated battery of law enforcement due to Cordova allegedly ramming several patrol vehicles earlier in the night while evading arrest.

"After determining that the probable cause of Aggravated Assault in Idaho equated to at least Assault 2nd in Washington, which would allow a pursuit to continue under Washington State RCW 10.116.060," troopers were advised they had the authority to, if conditions were safe for the public, continue pursuit of Cordova.

Minutes later, an officer initiated a successful PIT, causing Cordova’s vehicle to spin and come to a stop. With the assistance of WSP troops and deputies, Cordova was taken into custody without further incident,” the release states.

Several cans of alcoholic beverages as well as prescription drugs were found in the vehicle.

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