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Motorcyclist collides with car in Moses Lake; police limited on pursuit

by SAM FLETCHER
Staff Writer | August 12, 2021 1:03 AM

A speeding motorcyclist was able to escape apprehension and allegedly caused a collision because police said they couldn’t pursue the motorcycle due to laws, which took effect in July.

The Moses Lake Police Department responded to a collision between a red motorcycle and a car on state Route 17 traveling toward Interstate 90 Tuesday, which occurred after the motorcycle ran a red light. The motorcycle took the brunt of the damage, and no one was injured, police said.

The motorcycle fled the scene, leaving a trail of debris and fluid, which MLPD officers were able to follow into a residential area behind Moses Lake High School.

Officers had seen the same motorcycle, just minutes before, speeding past them several times around 10 p.m. Due to House Bill 1054, which came into effect on July 25, police were unable to pursue the motorcycle at that time, according to a MLPD social media post.

Section 7 of HB 1054 states a peace officer is unable to pursue a vehicle unless there is probable cause to believe a person in the vehicle has committed a violent offense or an escape, or reasonable suspicion the driver is under the influence as defined by the Revised Code of Washington.

On top of that, the pursuit must be necessary for the purpose of identifying or apprehending the person, the person must be an imminent threat to the safety of others and the officer has to have received authorization to engage in the pursuit from a supervising officer. All three conditions must be met for police to pursue a vehicle, said MLPD Chief Kevin Fuhr.

“Those are ‘ands,’ not ‘ors,’” he said.

“There is no confusion in Section 7, it is exceedingly clear in both its restrictions and intent,” the department wrote on social media.

Police could follow the fluid trail after the vehicle fled to find a suspect, but not pursue the vehicle itself.

“I can predict more of this is going to happen, where people are just going to start fleeing because they know we’re not allowed to chase,” Fuhr said.

The MLPD is still working to identify a suspect. Those with information can call 509-764-3900 and reference case number 21ML11403.