A Seattle man is facing felony charges in Lewis County after he allegedly shot a semi-truck driver in the face with an air pellet on Interstate 5 near Napavine on Monday and then smuggled methamphetamine into the Lewis County Jail by storing bags in his intestines.
Washington State Patrol troopers arrested Cody Chase, 34, of Seattle, after a search warrant execution on his vehicle revealed a backpack containing a scale and several types of drugs, including what troopers believed to be heroin, acid and methamphetamine, as well as a .177 air pistol with a loaded magazine and an attached air canister.
The pellets associated with that air pistol matched the pellet that reportedly shattered the side window of a semi-truck, cracked the windshield and became lodged in the truck driver’s face, halfway between his eye and his ear, according to court documents.
The driver immediately pulled over after the shooting and called the police, providing a description and the license plate number of the vehicle he believed the shot came from.
Troopers waited for a vehicle matching that description to drive by further north on I-5, according to court documents. They observed the vehicle, a green Hyundai Accent, take Exit 82 on Harrison Avenue in Centralia and then conducted a traffic stop.
Chase was then identified as the driver and lone occupant of the vehicle, according to court documents.
When asked about the incident with the semi-truck before troopers obtained the search warrant, Chase reportedly denied firing anything at the semi-truck and denied having a firearm in his vehicle. He stated, “He had been ran off the road by the semi-truck, so he flipped it off as he drove by,” according to court documents.
Chase was booked into the Lewis County Jail at 2:38 a.m. on May 10 and has since been charged with first-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.
Later that day, a corrections deputy advised that a body-scan had found “several baggies” in Chase’s intestines, according to court documents. He was moved to a cell by himself and the on-duty nurse later advised she found a baggie containing “a white substance” in the toilet of that cell.
The substance inside the baggie field-tested as methamphetamine, according to court documents.
The nurse advised deputies that the baggie wasn’t in the cell before Chase entered, but did say she did not check the toilet between when the cleaning crew went through and when Chase was placed in the cell.
Chase “denied having anything in his intestines and denied leaving the substance in the toilet,” according to court documents.
One count of possession of a controlled substance by a prisoner was added to his case prior to his preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon.
“He’s very frustrated with the charges of course he adamantly denies any of the allegations,” said Defense Attorney Rachael Tiller during Chase’s hearing on Tuesday. She added that Chase believed security footage from the jail will confirm he was never on the toilet while in the cell by himself.
While Tiller asked Judge Joely Yeager to set Chase’s bail no higher than $50,000,
Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher requested that bail be set at $75,000.
“We believe the defendant presents a great risk to the community,” he said Tuesday, adding that the fact that the pellet became lodged in the victim’s face was especially concerning. “That could have gone really bad at a variety of levels.”
Meagher also cited convictions for attempting to elude a pursuing a police officer on Chase’s record as reason for the high bail.
Yeager agreed with Meagher’s concerns that Chase was a flight risk, as well as his concerns about community safety, and set Chase’s bail at $75,000. “I believe the state’s request is warranted,” she said Tuesday.
Chase’s next court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 19.