After Paying for Ride, Suspects Produce Gun, Demand Trip to Portland 

Updated: One of Two Suspects Arrested After Man Held at Gunpoint in Chehalis and Forced to Drive


One suspect was taken into custody Wednesday evening after he and an unidentified second suspect allegedly held a man at gunpoint and forced him to drive the suspects from Chehalis south on Interstate 5, according to the Chehalis Police Department. 

No injuries were reported and the firearm was recovered. 

The Chehalis Police Department was dispatched to the 500 block of Northwest Chamber Way just before 9:15 p.m. on May 17 for a report of a stolen vehicle being driven southbound on I-5, according to a news release from the department. 

When officers arrived, they made contact with two witnesses who said they had met up with a friend at the Park-N-Ride off Exit 77 and while they were there, “two Black males approached their vehicle and asked for a ride to Walmart,” according to court documents. One of the males was reportedly wearing a red shirt, while the other was wearing a white shirt and a red hat.

The group declined at first saying they didn’t have enough room in the vehicle, but their friend “agreed to give them a ride when they gave him $40.” 

All five subjects got into the vehicle, with the witness’ friend driving, the suspect in the red shirt in the front passenger seat and the suspect in the red hat sitting in the back seat with the two witnesses. 

As soon as they got to the Chamber Way exit on I-5, the male in the front passenger seat “pulled out a firearm and said to (the driver) ‘you can either take us to Portland right now or give us the car and everyone get out,’” according to court documents. 

The two witnesses got out of the vehicle, but the driver stayed in the vehicle with the two suspects, according to court documents. 

When he was interviewed later by law enforcement, the driver said that during the drive, the man in the passenger seat “either had the gun pointed at him, would point the gun at him, or threatened to shoot him if he wanted something,” according to court documents. The man in the passenger seat also allegedly threw the driver’s wallet and phone out the window during the drive. 

Soon after the vehicle left Chehalis, Washington State Patrol reportedly identified the vehicle and began pursuing it south on I-5 near Cowlitz and Clark counties, according to court documents. 

The driver later told law enforcement that an initial pursuit on I-5 was terminated, at which point the suspects made the driver get off the freeway and let the suspect in the back of the vehicle get out. The driver said a second pursuit began when he got back on the highway, during which troopers performed a PIT maneuver to disable the vehicle. 

The driver was reportedly detained without issue while the other occupant attempted to flee. He was ultimately captured and was later identified as 29-year-old James Hobbs-Fletcher. 

Officers who later searched the vehicle reportedly found an unloaded Lorcin 9mm pistol inside, according to court documents. 

Law enforcement were unable to locate the second suspect. His last known location was in the milepost 45 to 50 area of I-5 near Castle Rock, according to the Centralia Police Department. 

When he was arrested, Hobbs-Fletcher reportedly “said that he had swallowed 50 fentanyl pills” and was subsequently transported to a local hospital. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail just after 2:05 a.m. on Thursday, May 18, after he had been medically cleared. 

He was charged with one count each of second-degree assault, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree attempted robbery, felony harassment and attempted theft of a motor vehicle in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon. 

Hobbs-Fletcher was unable to appear for his preliminary hearing due to illness on Thursday, prompting a Lewis County Superior Court Judge to approve a temporary no-bail hold and reschedule Hobbs-Fletcher’s hearing to Friday. 

“The Chehalis Police Department would like to thank all agencies that provided assistance, Clark County, Cowlitz County, Washington State Patrol, Woodland, Kalama and Castle Rock,” the department said in a news release. 

The Chehalis Police Department asks anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have information to contact them at 360-748-8605 or contact dispatch at 360-740-1105.