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Man charged in wild police chase through Lakewood

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on July 31, 2009 at 10:00 am |
July 31, 2009 10:00 am

Pierce County prosecutors have filed charges against a 27-year-old man after a wild police chase involving a stolen car Tuesday.

Charging documents provide the following information:

A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy spotted the stolen vehicle Tuesday and tried to stop it at South 84th and South Hosmer streets. (Court documents don’t indicate a time for this chase but we’ve heard it was at night.) The car previously had been reported stolen at gunpoint to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.

The vehicle didn’t stop for the deputy and its driver made several evasive actions. The vehicle’s driver steered into the police vehicle when the deputy tried to perform a PIT maneuver. The deputy avoided the crash.

The driver drove in the north and southbound lanes and nearly hit a pedestrian in the area of South 96th and Hosmer streets.

The driver turned into the Pierce Transit Center, 9403 39th Ave. Court S.W., and crashed through a locked chain-link fence. He got out of the car, climbed a fence and tried to run. A Transit employee grabbed the driver, who took a swing at the employee.

Other employees helped out and the driver was taken to the ground. Officers arrested him a short time later.

The driver, identified as Joe A. Mata, was the subject of a restraining order involving the woman who was in the car. He was prohibited from contacting her and has five prior convictions for violating a no contact/protection order.

Mata told officers he “freaked out” because of the protection order. He claimed he traded the use of the stolen car for drugs.

A detective found a handgun in the stolen vehicle. Mata is a convicted felon and prohibited from owning or possessing a handgun.

Prosecutors have charged Mata with possession of a stolen vehicle, felony elude, first-degree malicious mischief, first-degree felon in possession of a firearm, felony domestic violence court order violation and obstructing.

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