A Seattle man was arrested in Grand Mound Wednesday after fleeing from Centralia police in a stolen vehicle, according to a news release from the department.
Peter J. Lee, 37, was arrested for attempting to elude, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and outstanding arrest warrants out of Whatcom County for possession of a stolen vehicle and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.
The incident began at about 3:12 p.m. Wednesday when Centralia officers received a notification from the Flock Safety camera license plate reader system that a stolen vehicle was in the area of the Centralia Outlet Mall.
A Centralia officer located the vehicle in a parking lot at the mall on the east side of Interstate 5.
The vehicle was only occupied by the driver, later identified as Lee, according to police.
“When the officer in a marked police unit drove towards the suspect vehicle, it fled out of the parking lot at a high rate of speed,” the department stated in the release. “Pursuant to Washington laws, the officer did not pursue the suspect vehicle.”
The Joint Narcotic Enforcement Team (JNET) sergeant was in the area and observed the suspect vehicle get on I-5 northbound at Harrison Avenue.
“The sergeant followed the suspect in an unmarked vehicle as it traveled north at normal highway speeds,” the release stated. “The suspect vehicle exited I-5 at Exit 88 and drove to the park-and-ride parking lot where it parked. Detectives and officers from the Centralia Police Department arrived in the area along with a Lewis County sheriff deputy and JNET Task Force officers. The driver exited his vehicle and started to walk away from it. The officers, detectives and deputy moved in to take the suspect in custody. Once in custody, the arresting officers located a handgun in the subject’s waistband.”
As Lee was being taken into custody, a woman walked up to the officers.
After allegedly providing a false name, she was eventually identified as 36-year-old Kasandra D. Cruz from Bellingham.
“The preliminary investigation revealed that Cruz was in the Nike store when Lee fled from the officer in the outlet mall parking lot,” the news release stated. “Cruz got a ride from an unknown subject to the park-and-ride where she was going to meet Lee.”
Cruz was arrested for criminal impersonation and possession of drugs by a prisoner. Cruz was also booked for a Department of Corrections arrest warrant for escape from community custody for a second-degree assault conviction.
Anyone with additional information on the case can call the Centralia Police Department at 360-330-7680 or Lewis County Communications at 360-740-1105.
Flock Safety is an Atlanta-based security company that specializes in automated license plate recognition technology.
The Centralia Police Department is currently in the midst of a two-month trial period using Flock Safety cameras. If the City of Centralia decides to keep the cameras after the free two-month trial period ends, the cost will be $2,500 per camera with the software included.
For more information on the Centralia Police Department’s Flock Safety system, visit the Flock Safety transparency portal at https://transparency.flocksafety.com/centralia-pd-wa.
For more information, visit https://www.flocksafety.com/.