Man accused of fighting Wapato police, stealing patrol car

WAPATO, Wash. -- A taser used by police on an unruly man Wednesday night wasn't enough to stop him. It only seemed to set off a violent chain of events that included batons and a stolen police car, and ended when an innocent bystander stopped him in his tracks.

It all started outside El Compadre Sports Bar in Wapato. Officers were called out to deal with a man yelling at people outside the bar. Police say the 23-year-old attacked two officers right when they got there.

In an effort to keep the suspect under control, both officers tased the man. When he was unfazed by that, they then used their batons. Even after that, he took a combative stance and said to officers, "Is that all you got?"

Officers tell me heavy winter clothes and alcohol are two things that could keep a taser from stopping someone cold. In this case, the man wasn't going quietly.

Right when the suspect had a chance to try and break free, he took it. He got away from the officers and went to one of their patrol cars. He got in and tried to make a run for it.

Police say he drove the patrol car almost five blocks and ran into more trouble on South Wapato Avenue.

There was a parked car right here. That's when the suspect took the police car and crashed it into the back of that car, moving the car up on to the sidewalk and ramming it into this fence.

"If they'll do it to a police car, they'll even do it to you," neighbor Christina Ponce said. "They'll pull you out of the car and take it. It's kind of scary."

A tow truck driver passing through the area gave police the break they needed. I caught up with the driver, who told me when the suspect tried to get out of the patrol car, he slammed the door on the man's leg and held him for about a minute for police to take him into custody.

Police say the suspect will be in the hospital at least until Friday. He was hurt in the crash and will be transferred to the Yakima County Jail when he's well enough. Both officers were treated for minor injuries.