Suspect In Two Drive-By Shootings Leads Police On Lengthy Pursuit In Stolen Paving Truck
A man who police say was involved in two separate drive-by shootings and a lengthy vehicle pursuit in a stolen state-owned truck is now in jail.
Deputies say 31-year-old Lance Rogers of West Richland is suspected of committing the shootings in Yakima Tuesday morning before driving east in a car.
Washington State Patrol (WSP) Sergeant Greg Riddell says when Rogers crossed into Adams County on State Route 26, he illegally entered a Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) equipment yard in Washtucna and stole the truck.
"He got out of his vehicle and went into the DOT fence armed with a gun and told the worker who was there at the site that he's taking a truck. And of all the trucks he could have picked, he chose a paving truck. So he gets in that and then flees."
Rogers then turned north on State Route 261 (SR-261) where multiple law enforcement agencies engaged in a pursuit at speeds that reached no more than 50 mph.
During the pursuit, Rogers reportedly pointed a firearm out the window at pursuing officers but it is not believed that he discharged the weapon.
After chasing Rogers for approximately 18 miles on SR-261 through the town on Ralston, Riddell says troopers successfully disabled the stolen truck.
"A total of four different spike strips were deployed which deflated the front tires. After hitting them, he continued onto Interstate-90 where a lot of smoke began pouring from the front of the vehicle and then just past Ritzville our units could see flames coming from the front of the vehicle. He finally came to a stop and the truck then became fully engulfed."
Troopers say Rogers then fled on foot into a nearby field where he was tracked down by officers and placed under arrest.
Rogers was taken to a local hospital for treatment of an injury that he reportedly suffered earlier in the day, possibly during the alleged drive-by shootings, but not during the vehicle or foot pursuit according to Riddell.
The worker at the DOT equipment yard was not injured when Rogers allegedly stole the paving truck, and no troopers, deputies, officers or civilians were injured during the pursuits.
Riddell says all facets of the incident are still under investigation.
The Adams County Sheriff's Office and Ritzville Police Department both assisted the WSP with the pursuit and apprehension of Rogers.