FERNDALE, Wash. — At about 2:45am on February 26th, a Bellingham Police officer discovered a vehicle with license plates that had been reported stolen. The officer followed the vehicle as it drove northbound on Pacific Highway from W Bakerview Road while awaiting backup.
According to law enforcement radio transmissions at the time, dispatchers were notifying nearby law enforcement agencies of the suspect vehicle’s location and direction of travel.
According to an affidavit of probable cause prepared by the Bellingham Police Department and submitted in Whatcom County Superior Court by prosecutors, once the suspect vehicle got on northbound I-5 from Slater Road, the BPD officer attempted to pull it over by activating the BPD vehicle’s emergency lights. Instead of yielding, the suspect vehicle sped away at high speed. The officer disabled the BPD vehicle’s emergency lights and did not pursue in accordance with recent Washington State law.
But further up on I-5, according to radio transmissions, Ferndale Police officers were set up with a spike strip to deploy across I-5 when the suspect vehicle drove past the Main Street exit. According to the affidavit, the suspect vehicle did drive over the spike strip, flattening both front tires.
The suspect vehicle continued north on I-5, exited at Grandview Road, returned to I-5 southbound and exited at Portal Way.
The front tires had disintegrated after being flattened and then driven at high speed. As a result, the suspect vehicle was being driven on the wheel rims.
After exiting I-5 to Portal Way, the driver appeared to lose control, left the road and the driver, the only occupant, was taken into custody.
A subsequent investigation revealed the suspect vehicle had also been reported stolen.
The driver, identified as Blake Paul LaChapelle, age 31, was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail. He currently faces the following charges in Whatcom Superior Court.
- Felony possession of a stolen vehicle
- Felony attempting to elude a police vehicle
- Driving while his license was suspended
- Possessing stolen property
As of March 7th, LaChapelle remained in custody pending being able to post a $20,000 bond or $2,000 in cash. He is scheduled to be arraigned in court on March 11th.
At the time of his arrest, LaChapelle had a bench warrant issued by Snohomish County Superior Court for failing to appear at a hearing where he is facing a felony possession of a stolen vehicle charge from 2019.