The drama began at about 1:20 a.m. when the trooper tried to pull over two motorcycles riding together on Interstate 405. The motorcyclists sped away and split up, and the trooper pursued one of them.
That motorcyclist turned onto Highway 169, then tried to lose the trooper by pulling onto a parallel bicycle trail. The trooper discontinued the pursuit after the motorcyclist made a U-turn on the trail and sped away at up to 50 mph.
Then the motorcyclist hit some reflective strips on the trail and lost control. He tipped over, slid for several feet and slammed into a metal pole.
Troopers and medics attempted CPR, but the motorcyclist died there on the trail. He was later identified as a 44-year-old Renton man. His name was withheld pending notification of his next of kin.
Troopers later discovered why the biker may have run - the motorcycle, a 2010 Harley-Davidson, was stolen out of Lacey.
Karim Baokabou of the Washington State Patrol said the deadly chase didn't have to happen.
"Stop for us. Sometimes it's just a simple headlight out - slow down," he said.