Lewis County Watch

A Sedro-Woolley man who had just been released after serving prison time in Monroe allegedly beat and strangled the woman who picked him up and even tried to steer the car she was driving into a guard rail along Interstate 5 near Bellingham.

Bellingham police booked Mikel James Ensley, 30, into Whatcom County Jail on Friday, Nov. 1, on suspicion of second-degree assault (domestic violence), and jail records show he is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Court records show Ensley pleaded guilty to second-degree identity theft, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a stolen vehicle on May 2, 2017, and was sentenced to prison.

On Friday, Ensley and the victim drove to Bellingham from the Monroe Correctional Complex, where Ensley had just been released, according to information provided to The Bellingham Herald by Lt. Claudia Murphy.

While in Bellingham in the 200 block of East Stuart Road, Murphy said Ensley and the victim got into an argument after Ensley became angered that the victim had thrown away Ensley's drug paraphernalia. During the argument, Ensley reportedly hit the victim in the mouth and strangled her, cutting off her breathing.

After Ensley and the victim got back in the car with the victim driving, Ensley grabbed the steering wheel away from her several times and tried to steer the car into the guardrail along I-5, Murphy said. He then reportedly slammed the victim's head on the console and up against the window, before strangling her until she lost consciousness.

Murphy said the victim managed to drive the car onto the shoulder before passing out.

Ensley and the victim later stopped at a gas station in Skagit County, where the victim was able to get out and call for help, Murphy said. Ensley was arrested nearby and transferred to Whatcom County Jail.

Murphy described the victim's injuries as relatively minor and consistent with being hit in the face and strangled.

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