$1M Bail Set for Man Charged With Holding Man at Gunpoint in Chehalis, Forcing Him to Drive


Bail was set at $1 million in Lewis County Superior Court on Friday afternoon for a man accused of kidnapping another man in Chehalis, holding him at gunpoint and forcing him to drive toward Portland.

Two suspects were involved in the kidnapping, but one remains at large. James B. Hobbs-Fletcher, 29, of Portland, faces one count each of second-degree assault and kidnapping, first-degree attempted robbery, felony harassment and attempted theft of a motor vehicle. Each felony is punishable by up to either five or 10 years.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joe Bassetti noted Hobbs-Fletcher had faced warrants in Oregon for attempted robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm, both in 2015, among other charges from different years. With that and the allegations of his use of a firearm in this incident, Bassetti claimed Hobbs-Fletcher posed “extreme risk to community safety.”

While Defense Attorney Rachael Tiller asked bail be set to no more than $500,000 due to Hobbs-Fletcher’s financial status and use of food stamps, Judge J. Andrew Toynbee agreed Hobbs-Fletcher’s charges posed significant risk to community and public safety.

“I understand it is a lot of money,” Toynbee said. “(But) there are at least two, possibly three offenses from another state in his history.”

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the driver was meeting friends at the park-and-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 people got into the vehicle. The suspect in the red shirt sat in the front passenger seat and the suspect in the red hat sat in the back seat with the two friends. 

As soon as they got to the Chamber Way exit on Interstate 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. 

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

Soon after the vehicle left Chehalis, the 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 initial pursuit on I-5 was terminated and shortly after, the suspect in the back seat had the driver pull off the freeway, where the suspect exited the vehicle.

In a second pursuit once back on the interstate, troopers performed a PIT maneuver to disable the vehicle. The driver was reportedly detained without issue while the other occupants attempted to flee. One of the suspects was ultimately captured and was later identified as Hobbs-Fletcher. 

“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. 

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

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.