Earlier this morning Vincent S. Deal, a 25 year old Whatcom County resident, was booked into Whatcom County Jail for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and/or Drugs, Attempting to Elude Pursuing Police Vehicle and for Driving While License Suspended 3rd Degree.
On February 26, 2016 at about 2:24 a.m. a Bellingham Police Department officer observed a green 2000 Toyota Camry travelling through the 100 block of Prospect Street heading toward the downtown area. The Officer saw the vehicle strike a curb and a traffic stop was initiated as soon as the officer was able to complete a U-turn and get in behind the vehicle. When the officer approached the vehicle the driver and lone occupant, later identified as Vincent Deal, opened his window just enough to be able to talk with the officer. The officer was still able to detect a strong odor of intoxicants emanating from the car. Deal's eyes were watery and bloodshot and he told the officer he had consumed alcohol.
Based on the totality of circumstances the officer advised Deal to turn off his car and step from the vehicle. Deal would not comply with these lawful orders and continually made statements that he intended to drive away from the scene. The officer made it clear to Deal that he was not free to leave and then advised Deal that he was under arrest for suspicion of DUI.
To hinder Deal's ability to drive from the scene a controlled deflation device was placed in front of the rear passenger tire of the Camry. When Deal drove away the tire flattening device functioned correctly causing a slow deflation of the Camry's right rear tire.
The officer that had initially stopped Deal began pursuing the Camry in his fully marked police utility vehicle with siren and emergency lighting activated. Deal drove to W. Holly Street and then westbound to Eldridge Avenue. The pursuit continued along Eldridge to Marine Drive where an awaiting officer had laid out Stop Sticks (tire deflators). Deal avoided the Stop Sticks and continued westbound. When he got to a wide straight section of Marine Drive a PIT maneuver was unsuccessfully attempted. Deal turn northbound onto Bennett Drive and a second successful PIT maneuver was completed in the 3100 block. Deal's car was spun about 270 degrees and came to a rest in the southbound lane of Bennett. Deal did not drive significantly faster than the speed limit throughout the pursuit, he simply refused to stop even with one completely flattened tire.
After being spun to a stop Deal immediately turned on an iPad and appeared to be recording the multiple officers on scene. Deal was ordered to keep both hands in view yet he continually kept his right hand out of sight and appeared to be reaching for something in the passenger compartment of the Camry. Based on his erratic behavior, and concerns for officer safety, a decision was made to deploy drag stabilized flexible batons (less lethal 12 gauge impact munitions) to break the window glass on the passenger side of the Camry. This allowed officers an improved view of Deal. When this was successfully done Deal still refused to exit the vehicle and would not keep both hands visible. Additional drag stabilized rounds were utilized to strike Deal's right arm and torso and he quickly exited the car and was taken into custody. Officers immediately verified that he had only received minor injuries from the impact munitions.
Deal was transported to the breath testing room at Whatcom County Jail to complete the DUI investigation. Two officers stayed with Deal and the entire investigative process was recorded using a body worn camera. At one point Deal was standing in the room talking to the officers and without warning passed out. Deal fell against a baseboard heater and sustained a minor injury to his forehead. The officers promptly rendered aid and medics responded. Deal was taken to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center and was cleared by medical staff to be booked into Whatcom County Jail.