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Bellingham Police return repeat criminal to jail after he reportedly rammed a police vehicle

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Todd Grant Hawley, age 38, kept Bellingham Police Department (BPD) officers busy on Tuesday, November 9th. Officers reported recognizing Hawley given their frequent contacts with him.

According to BPD records, officers were dispatched on November 9th at approximately 9:52pm to the 3000 block of Cherrywood Avenue due to a report of an an attempted burglary.  BPD Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told Whatcom News in an email that a resident called What-Comm 911 to report a man was trying to open their front door. The resident provided a description of the man, who subsequently left and was said to be walking on Cherrywood Avenue.

BPD officers recognized the description given to be a man they had been attempting to locate throughout the day after receiving reports he had stolen liquor from multiple gas stations.

A BPD officer in a police vehicle arrived in the area and heard a car engine start which caused the officer to begin checking driveways. The officer recognized a man sitting in the driver’s seat of a yellow truck as Hawley due to numerous previous law enforcement contacts. The man also matched the description provided by the 911 caller. 

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While another officer arrived in their vehicle, the first officer told Hawley he was under arrest and instructed him to get out of the truck.

Instead of complying, Hawley shut the truck’s door. Murphy noted the officers’ vehicle had their emergency lights turned on as Hawley exited the driveway in the truck at a high rate of speed. This resulted in ramming the second officer’s police vehicle, causing significant front end damage.

After ramming the police vehicle, Hawley is reported to have driven across Cherrywood Avenue, into a yard of a residence and then back out onto Cherrywood Avenue. While attempting to elude police, he reached speeds of 47mph in a 25mph zone and failed to stop for 3 stop signs  losing control of the truck and driving into a yard in the 2800 block of W Maplewood Avenue. In an attempt to leave the yard and return to the road, he rammed the same police vehicle again. The truck then reversed into a chain link fence and became high-centered and immovable on a curb.

BPD officers then instructed Hawley to get out of the truck but “he just kept trying to rev the engine high enough to free the truck and flee.” 

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Officers used several less lethal options to deescalate the situation, but the Taser failed, drag stabilized bean bag rounds also had no effect on HAWLEY.  Officers kept talking to HAWLEY to encourage him to surrender peacefully, but he refused to do so.  Eventually officers introduced chemical irritants into the truck, which had the desired effect of deescalating HAWLEY and he emerged from the truck and was taken into custody. 

BPD Lieutenant Claudia Murphy via email to Whatcom News (November 10, 2021)

Hawley was booked into Whatcom County Jail and charged with suspicion of the following charges.

  • 1st degree assault (2 counts)
  • 1st degree malicious mischief
  • Theft of a motor vehicle
  • Attempting to elude a police vehicle
  • Resisting arrest
  • Obstructing
  • Hit-and-run of an occupied vehicle
  • Operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device
  • Driving under the influence
  • 1st degree driving while his license was revoked

Hawley made an preliminary appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court on November 10th and bail was set at $250,000. As of November 11th, he remained in custody.

At the time of his arrest, Hawley was out of custody after posting $5,000 bond while awaiting trial in Skagit County Superior Court on a felony residential burglary charge.

He was also out of custody after posting a $20,000 bail bond while awaiting trial in Whatcom County Superior Court where he’s facing charges of illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle and 1st degree malicious mischief exceeding $5,000.

In July 2021, Hawley was sentenced to 365 days, 305 suspended, after pleading guilty to a gross misdemeanor 4th degree assault charge and 60 days after pleading guilty to a felony 2nd degree burglary charge.

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In 2019, Hawley pled guilty to felony 2nd degree malicious mischief in Whatcom County Superior Court and sentenced to 35 months in custody. According to court records at the time, he had previously been convicted of 10 felony crimes in Whatcom County Superior Court since 2002. Those crimes included theft, possession of stolen property, attempting to elude, vehicle theft and assault.

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