Detectives still searching for answers after man causes a crash, standoff on I-5

Jeffrey Macheta (DOC photo)

The mother of the man who was arrested after a big crash that closed I-5 in Lakewood Tuesday night, says despite his criminal history he is a good person who did a bad thing. The mom tells KOMO News her son was under a lot of stress, but is baffled by what he did.

Detectives are still trying to figure out why Jeffrey Macheta was speeding 100 MPH down the freeway, weaving in and out of traffic, before crashing into a semi and then refusing to get out of his car.

It shut down the freeway for an hour and a half while police negotiators tried to end it peacefully. Macheta's mom says she was in contact with him.

"I was devastated," she said. "I was on the phone with him trying to get him to be a bigger person and just get out and turn himself in."

Lakewood police say Macheta had a sharp object, like a knife or screwdriver, and they feared he could hurt himself if they moved too quickly.

"And he was acting irrational, punching out the windows," said Lt. Chris Lawler. "I guess he tried to light his airbag on fire, and just wouldn't come out."

It blocked I-5 in both directions and brought all of the side streets at a standstill.

"Wow, that's intense and he definitely caused a lot of people a lot of inconvenience," said Jason Rowland, who was stuck in the backup.

A criminal search shows Macheta has a long criminal history of car theft, eluding police, assault and domestic violence. He got out of prison just last year, but he wasn't wanted for anything at this time.

"He was upset," said Lawler. "There was some suicidal comments that he was making. I think there were comments about having to go back to prison or he thought he was going back to jail, but nothing specific."

His mom said he feared going back behind bars, but didn't say why. She has a message for him. "I just want to say that 'I'm there for you Jeffrey and I love you. Wish I could have been there, but I wasn't. But I know you're going to do good and be back on the right track again.'"

Police said Macheta was taken to Madigan Army Medical Center where he's under guard waiting to be taken to jail. The truck driver who was hit was treated and is now home.

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