Man Accused of Fleeing Centralia Police in Stolen Vehicle Apprehended After Crashing in Thurston County 


Bail has been set at $100,000 for a Pacific Beach man accused of fleeing from Centralia police officers at high speeds in a stolen vehicle on Monday before crashing the vehicle in Thurston County. 

The Centralia Police Department received a notification from the Flock Security camera system of a stolen vehicle within Centralia city limits just after 5:50 p.m. on May 15, according to call logs. 

Officers checked the area the notification came from, the 140 block of West High Street, and located an unoccupied vehicle in the parking lot of a Centralia outlet store. With help from Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team (JNET) detectives, officers placed spike strips near the vehicle’s tires and waited for the driver to return. 

The driver, who was later identified as Matthew L. Emery, 37, of Pacific Beach, soon returned, got in the vehicle and fled in the vehicle. 

The spike strips damaged “several tires, with debris flying off as the vehicle fled from police,” according to court documents. 

Officers initially pursued the vehicle, but disengaged out of concern for community safety as the stolen vehicle, driving on the tire rims, crossed between lanes of traffic at high speeds. 

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office later apprehended Emery, indicating to Lewis County law enforcement that “Emery had crashed then attempted to carjack someone else, who kept their doors locked,” according to court documents. 

The other vehicle was reportedly occupied and parked on the shoulder of the roadway. Upon discovering the vehicle door was locked, Emery reportedly fled on foot but was caught by Thurston County deputies. 

Centralia officers took custody of Emery and booked him into the Lewis County Jail just after 11:25 p.m. on May 15, according to jail records. 

Emery allegedly had stolen shoes and a stolen checkbook in his possession when he was arrested, according to court documents. 

When questioned, Emery allegedly admitted to knowing the vehicle was stolen but denied being the one to steal it. He also allegedly admitted to being under the influence of meth at the time of the pursuit.  

He has since been charged in Lewis County Superior Court with one count each of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, second-degree possession of stolen property, DUI and third-degree theft. 

While Deputy Prosecutor Joe Bassetti asked Judge J. Andrew Toynbee to set Emery’s bail at $200,000 on Tuesday due to community safety concerns and a high number of active warrants on Emery’s record, Toynbee set bail at a lower amount, $100,000, due to Emery’s financial situation. 

“I think that’s sufficient bail given his status, but I do think it’s necessary,” he said Tuesday. 

Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, May 25.