After the pursuit of one stolen car turned into a second pursuit of another stolen car, Bellingham Police officers make two arrests and find a handgun. On September 9, 2020, Sheri D. DeRaimo, 27, of Everett, fled from an officer investigating switched plates on her car. Her boyfriend, Zachary K. Hertz, 32, of Bellingham, interfered with the pursuing officers attempting to lure them away from DeRaimo. Both pursuits ended with DeRaimo and Hertz being arrested for attempting to elude police vehicles and numerous other felonies.
A BPD patrol officer initiated an investigation into switched license plates on a car he saw parked in the parking lot of the Baymont Inn. DeRaimo got into the driver’s seat and left the parking lot with no headlights on and without regard for the officer who was attempting to stop her. DeRaimo fled at a high rate of speed, reaching close to 90 mph on Meridian without headlights on. She then ran multiple red lights and stop signs, all the while ignoring the officer’s lights and sirens. DeRaimo finally came to a stop in the 100 block of Alabama and was taken into custody without further incident. The car DeRaimo turned out to be a confirmed stolen from Henderson Police Department in Nevada.
She was arrested for attempting to elude police vehicles for willfully driving in a reckless manner while fleeing police to avoid arrest, as well as possession of a stolen vehicle and driving with a suspended license. The car was impounded as evidence and a search warrant applied for and obtained. During the search a .40 caliber Taurus pistol, loaded with a full magazine, was found in DeRaimo’s property. As DeRaimo is an 8-time convicted felon, the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm was added.
Shortly after DeRaimo fled from police, a second car came up behind pursuing officers at a very high rate of speed. The driver, later identified as Hertz, actually passed officers involved in the pursuit, in what clearly was an attempt to divert the officer’s attention from DeRaimo’s car. One set of officers pursued DeRaimo and the second set of officers attempted to stop Hertz based on his reckless driving which placed officers, pedestrians and other motorists at great risk of harm. Hertz reached speeds in excess of 95 mph in a posted 25 mph zone on Cornwall Street. As Hertz was fleeing, he intentionally veered out of his lane of travel toward an oncoming police car, which had its overhead emergency lights on. The officer had to take evasive action to avoid being struck head-on at over 95 mph. During the pursuit, Hertz, also tried to run another police car off the road, still at a high rate of speed.
Hertz fled onto southbound I5, though at much slower speeds, as he had blown a tire when he failed to negotiate a corner, striking a curb and skidding through a parking lot before entering the roadway again. Given the slower speed and a traffic-free I5, officers ended the pursuit by successfully executing a pursuit immobilization technique (PIT.) Using high-risk traffic stop protocol, Hertz was taken into custody without further incident. The car Hertz was driving turned out to be a confirmed stolen from Reno PD.
He was arrested for 2 counts of attempted assault in the 1st degree for intentionally veering into the path of 2 police cars at high rates of speed, knowing such a collision could cause serious bodily injury or death. He was also arrested for attempting to elude police, possession of a stolen vehicle, reckless driving, obstructing, and driving without a license.
The couple was booked into the Whatcom County Jail. Fortunately, no one was injured during this incident.