Man shot by deputy after high-speed chase, ramming cruiser

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Investigators in Thurston County say a reckless driver was shot after crashing into a deputy's cruiser, and leading officers on a high-speed chase shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday.

A Thurston County sheriff's deputy was called to Reservation Road and Old Pacific Highway to help Nisqually Tribal Police who were already in pursuit of a suspected drunk driver who fled during a traffic stop, detectives said.

Police said their suspect, Richard I. Paz, was driving speeds up to 90 miles an hour during the chase.

During the chase, Paz drove southbound in the northbound lanes of Reservation Road Southeast, and "basically hit the deputy head-on," Thurston County Sheriff's Lt. Greg Elwin told The Olympian.

Impact from the crash activated the deputy's airbags, and sent both cars spinning into the roadway, Lt. Elwin said.

Police reports state Paz continued ramming his car into the deputy's cruiser, and was driving his vehicle toward the deputy when the deputy opened fire, hitting Paz once in the arm.

Paz was taken to St. Peter Hospital with minor injuries, and will be booked at the Thurston County Jail for first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. It is unclear whether Paz was under the influence, or if additional charges will be filed.

The deputy was treated for minor injuries, and will be placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.

Members of the Region Three Critical Incident Investigative Team are investigating the incident.