Vancouver teen gets two years for police chase

He rammed several police cars during July 2 incident

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A Vancouver teen was sentenced Monday to two years of confinement related to a high-speed police chase on Interstate 5 last month during which he rammed several police vehicles.

In an agreement with prosecutors, Austin Sullivan, 17, pleaded guilty in Clark County Juvenile Court to second-degree assault, theft of a motor vehicle and attempt to elude. In exchange, Deputy Prosecutor Rick Olson dismissed another second-degree assault charge against him.

On the evening of July 2, a state trooper spotted Sullivan driving a Kia Rio at more than 110 mph, according to court records. The Kia had been involved in a pursuit with Vancouver police a few minutes before the trooper spotted Sullivan headed northbound on the freeway near Northeast 78th Street.

The trooper caught up with the Kia just south of the Interstate 205 split. Another trooper, who was working in a nearby construction zone, deployed stop sticks, flattening all four of the Kia's tires.

The vehicle, however, kept going at about 20 mph, according to court records. A third trooper joined the pursuit and used a driving maneuver to spin the vehicle. The tactic caused the Kia to stop, facing south in the northbound lanes.

Sullivan then drove south, ramming the trooper's car.

The Vancouver officer who had pursued the Kia arrived to help and blocked the right lane to prevent the vehicle from fleeing. Sullivan, however, rammed into that officer's car, according to court records. At the same time, another trooper's vehicle pulled behind the Kia, but the Kia went into reverse and struck it, records said. The Kia once again tried to pull forward, but the Vancouver police vehicle prevented its escape.

"He was going left and right and around vehicles on I-5 being chased by multiple police officers," Olson said. "Even after the police put out (stop) strips, he kept trying to g,o even though he couldn't go more than 15 to 20 mph. Someone could have been seriously hurt on this one."

No one was injured.

Sullivan also stole a different car earlier that day and also was involved in a vehicle theft and pursuit June 30, Olson said.

At the time of the car chase, Sullivan was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court in May in a separate criminal case against him. In that case, he crashed a vehicle while intoxicated into a woman's fence. When she went outside to try to get him to turn off the car, he grabbed her arm, according to court records.

Sullivan will serve his sentence at a juvenile facility, which has not yet been determined.