Woman in critical condition as police chase ends with crash

EVERETT, Wash. - A Mukilteo woman is fighting for her life Monday after she became the innocent victim of a police chase that ended in Everett, where a stolen pickup truck smashed her car into a natural gas line that broke and caught fire.

It was a wild scene with an officer chasing the pickup for miles through Snohomish County at speeds of up to 95 mph.

The drama began in Bothell at 11:20 p.m. Sunday when a police officer in a patrol car spotted the stolen truck and attempted to pull the driver over near a local motel.

According to police reports, the pickup truck driver refused to stop and took off, running over a curb and through a red light before merging onto northbound Interstate 405. The officer followed with siren and emergency lights activated as the pickup swerved around several cars, eventually reaching speeds of up to 90 mph.

As the pickup and patrol car merged onto northbound Interstate 5, the officer broke off the pursuit but still continued to follow the pickup at a distance with no emergency lights or siren.

At that point the pickup driver apparently lost sight of the police car. He slowed down and appeared to be trying to blend in with traffic, according to the officer's report.

At that point, the pickup driver suddenly made a U-turn in front of traffic and pulled into a gas station at the corner of 14th Place West and 164th Street SW.

The pickup then accelerated, slamming into the back of another car, police reports say. The officer quickly pulled his patrol car in behind the pickup in an attempt to block it in.

The pickup then suddenly accelerated backwards into the patrol car in an apparent attempt to push it out of the way. The pickup then lurched forward through a small gap and was able to make it out of the lot and back into northbound I-5, accelerating to speeds above 90 mph as the officer continued to follow.

The pickup later exited the freeway, turning onto Evergreen Way and heading north, blasting through several red lights at speeds of up to 95 mph as the officer followed with emergency lights and sirens back on, according to the officer's report.

At the intersection of Rucker and Pacific avenues in Everett, the stolen pickup slammed into another car, flipped upside down and slid up onto the sidewalk. The car it hit went flying onto its side - right into a natural gas line.

The woman driving that car was trapped inside. Emergency crews had to physically move her car and cut her out of it.

Puget Sound Energy quickly came and fixed the gas line before firefighters had to evacuate anyone.

The suspect is a 33-year-old Seattle man, later identified as Joseph D. Strange, who likely faces a number of felony charges from the chase. He was hospitalized and is considered to be under arrest.

The 40-year-old Mukilteo woman cut from her car was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.