A Seattle-area man who eluded multiple police forces before and after blasting a stolen five ton truck through the Peace Arch border crossing is now awaiting trial in a King County jail after crashing in Pitt Meadows.
According to the King County Sheriffs Office, the long cross-border crime spree perpetrated by suspect Jessie Lang Clemens started out even more bizarrely the morning of Nov. 5 in Shoreline, north of Seattle, when Clemens crashed his bicycle and knocked himself out.
“He woke up with a bloody face, crossed the street and finds a lady in a car and knocks on her window,” said King County Sgt. Ryan Abbott. “She gets out to make sure he’s OK, and he tries to grab her purse. She fought back and kept her purse but he got her car keys … and took off northbound on I-5.”
Washington State Patrol picked up the pursuit but according to state trooper and public information officer Heather Axtman, attempts to stop Clemens as he headed north failed.
“A trooper tried to stop him for following too closely, but, unbeknownst to him, it was a suspect vehicle in a car jacking,” she said.
Crosses river, steals truck
“[Clemens] made it all the way to Bellingham. One of our troopers tried to stop the vehicle but he exited off the freeway to a dead end road where he crashed the car and fled on foot and across a river. We were trying to get our troopers set up … but we were in not position to cross the river. It was unsafe.”
Axtman said, by that time, a U.S. border patrol helicopter, known as Omaha, was tracking the man and watched from the air as Clemens stole a second vehicle, this time a five ton construction truck.
“We tried to get set up to stop that truck, but it crossed the border into Canada where RCMP were set up,” said Axtman.
Runs the border
Surrey RCMP Sgt. Elenore Sturko said the truck ran the Peace Arch border crossing at 1:20 p.m. PT but once on the Canadian side, again escaped police attempts to stop it. She says for reasons of public safety, Surrey RCMP did not chase Clemens.
“We tried to stop it as soon as possible, but we couldn’t because the vehicle evaded so we said, OK, the helicopter is going to watch it,” said Sturko.
The U.S. border patrol helicopter continued to the track Clemens as he sped through Surrey, over the Golden Ears Bridge and into Pitt Meadows.
Sturko says Maple Ridge RCMP were about to attempt to stop the truck when it crashed and flipped while going north on Harris Road.
Clemens suffered minor injuries and was finally apprehended at the crash scene. He was taken to hospital before being handed over to the Canada Border Service Agency and on to U.S. authorities.
Sturko says no other vehicles were involved in the crash and, miraculously, Clemens didn’t cause any accidents as he fled from the border.
He is currently charged with robbery and burglary relating to the car jacking. Authorities in King County are also preparing to charge him on multiple felony counts for evading law enforcement.
Abbott says Clemens is known to authorities in Washington state.
According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson, it is standard procedure for U.S. border patrol helicopters to co-ordinate with Canadian authorities, including the Canadian government and the RCMP, when an American suspect flees across the border into Canada.
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