3 hospitalized after fiery crash between Jeep, patrol car

MILL CREEK, Wash. - A fiery crash sent three people, including a police officer, to the hospital early Friday when a driver fleeing from the police crashed into a patrol car.

The incident began shortly after 1 a.m. as Mountlake Terrace police were pursuing a Jeep Cherokee through the streets northeast toward Mill Creek.

At the same time a Mill Creek officer was heading east with emergency lights flashing on 180th Street SE with the intention of setting up a spike strip to stop the Jeep Cherokee.

As the Cherokee was heading north on 35th Avenue SE at high speed, it slammed into the Mill Creek officer's patrol car at the intersection with 180th Street SE, said Ian Durkee of the Mill Creek police.

The Cherokee veered off the road to the northwest after the crash, hit a curb, vaulted into the air, struck a power pole, landed on its side and caught fire. The patrol car, which had been heading east, spun completely around from the impact and ended up facing west with its lights still flashing.

Other officers at the scene ran to the Cherokee and pulled two people from the vehicle as it caught fire. Both were taken to the hospital with injuries. The passenger was later released. Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire in the crashed Cherokee.

The driver was later identified as a 52-year-old Everett man. The passenger was identified as a 29-year-old Lake Stevens woman.

The officer in the crashed patrol car also was taken to the hospital as a precaution. He was treated for minor injuries and released.

It wasn't immediately clear what started the police pursuit.

The collision is being investigated by the Washington State Patrol and criminal charges are pending.