BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) officers arrested a man on suspicion of multiple crimes after he moved from the passenger seat to the driver seat of a vehicle and took off while officers were conducting a traffic stop.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Whatcom County Superior Court by prosecutors, a BPD officer stopped a vehicle in the 4200 block of Meridian Street about 9pm on September 25th after noticing the rear license plate belonged to a different vehicle.
While the officer was talking with the driver outside the vehicle, 1 of the 2 passengers moved into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive away. The vehicle was driven over and down an embankment crashing into curbing along a parking lot below and coming to an abrupt stop. The other passenger was injured in the collision.
The passenger then fled on foot with the officer in pursuit. According to law enforcement radio transmissions at the time, other BPD officers responded and the man was taken into custody a short distance away.
An initial search of the man located a large amount of cash along with a “meth pipe.”
Returning to the scene of the traffic stop and subsequent crash, the other occupants were being detained. More cash was discovered on 1 of the occupants along with what appeared to be small baggies filled with methamphetamine. A “security sweep” located what appeared to be a loaded handgun. While securing the weapon it was determined to be an air gun.
A BPD K9 unit alerted officers to the possible presence of narcotics. A warrant search was performed on the vehicle which located the following items.
- loaded 9mm Glock-style handgun
- about 1,000 grams of methamphetamine and cocaine
- $1,158 in cash
- a digital scale
- several cellphones
- drug paraphernalia including pipes, foil and a bong
- several laptop computers
- numerous back packs
- small baggies of narcotics
The fleeing passenger was identified as Joshua Lowell Lewis, age 41, and was found to have an active arrest warrant for a case where he faces felony fraud and theft charges.
Lewis faces the following charges in Whatcom County Superior Court.
- possession of controlled substances
- possession of controlled substance (amphetamine or methamphetamine) with intent to deliver
- 2nd-degree unlawful firearm possession
- resisting arrest (misdemeanor)
- attempting to elude a police vehicle
- hit and run with an attended vehicle with property damage
As of October 4th, Lewis remained in custody pending being able to post a $50,000 bond or $5,000 cash bail.
The injured passenger, identified as Catrina Rayana Rodriguez, age 19, was also arrested and booked into the jail under suspicion of 2 counts of possession of controlled substance crimes and on an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear in a case where she’s charged with 1st-degree robbery related to an incident in Ferndale.
As of October 4th, Rodriguez remained in custody pending being able to post a $25,000 bond or $2,500 cash bail on the new charges and $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash on the robbery charge.