A man who allegedly threatened a hiker with a knife and rammed a gate in Mount Rainier National Park was arrested Saturday following a police chase, according to court records.
The 29-year-old pleaded not guilty at arraignment Monday in Pierce County Superior Court to a charge of attempting to elude police.
Charging papers give this account of what happened:
The man, who appeared to be suffering from mental illness, allegedly threatened a hiker with a knife and at some point rammed a gate at Paradise and damaged a tollbooth while fleeing park rangers.
Rangers lost his Ford Windstar van, which he was driving with the hood up, after it passed Elbe and headed onto Mountain Highway.
A sheriff’s deputy then saw the van and tried to pull it over, but also lost it on the winding road.
Another sheriff’s deputy put out spike strips, which deflated two of the van’s tires, and the suspect pulled over.
Deputies didn’t get a response when they called out to the driver, and they didn’t find him inside when they approached.
A police dog found him about a quarter mile away.
“Park Rangers advised that the defendant had threatened a hiker on a trail with a knife, and possibly, (thrown) it at him,” the declaration for determination of probable cause said. “They were still waiting for contact with the victim.”
Deputies found a kitchen knife in the van.
“When asked to explain the knife throwing incident, the defendant said he had been on a trail and saw an unknown female and two ‘tweaker looking’ males,” the probable cause statement said. “He said the males tried to attack the female. The defendant said he confronted them, yelled at them, they ran away, and he threw the knife at them. The defendant then said he yelled, threw the knife and then they ran away.”
The men were dressed like forest rangers, and one had a taser, he said.
“The defendant went off on several tangents to tell the deputy about his distrust of government and its corruption,” the probable cause statement said. “The deputy opined that the defendant appeared to suffer from some sort of mental health issue.”
The suspect allegedly said he saw the police lights and knew they were trying to pull him over, but that he didn’t believe he needed to stop. He disagreed with the deputy that the law says otherwise.