Sequim police arrested three men in their 20s Tuesday evening after what appears to be a drug-deal-gone-bad.
Officer Maris Turner said Christopher Lee Haltom, 29, of Sequim, James Edward Charles, 28, of Port Angeles, and Jeremy James Paapke, 20, of Port Angeles, raced their cars at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour through Sequim, crashing into fences, a fire hydrant and eventually each other before coming to a stop in the parking lot of the Paradise Restaurant on the corner of Hendrickson Road and Sequim Avenue.
Turner said the ordeal began around 2:54 p.m. Tuesday when Paapke and Charles gave Haltom cash to purchase Methadone, a synthetic opioid prescription painkiller. Haltom took the money and got into his vehicle and fled, Turner said. Paapke and Charles got into their vehicle and pursued Haltom, with Paapke driving, she said.
Officers began receiving emergency phone calls about two cars racing through Sequim. The cars traveled several miles in the city, county on U.S. Highway 101 and then back into the city, through several streets including Govan and Fir Streets where Haltom hit a fire hydrant, Turner said. They turned onto Sequim Avenue and drove north through the school zone. According to statements and witnesses the speeds reached are estimated between 60 and 80 mph in town, though the specific speeds reached in the school zone are unknown, Turner said.
The cars continued north into the parking lot of Hardy’s Market at the corner of Old Olympic Highway and Sequim Avenue, where they crashed into a fence and each other before continuing south on Sequim Avenue. Turner said Haltom’s vehicle was struck by Paapke’s as he turned on Hendrickson Road, pushing the car up on the curb.
At that point Haltom and Charles got in a physical altercation during which Charles got his money back, she said.
Officers arrived as Haltom was fleeing the scene and he was found hiding in a shed not far from the collision sight, Turner said.
All three were questioned and later booked into Clallam County jail. Haltom was arrested on suspicion of hit and run, reckless driving, third-degree theft, possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Paapke was arrested on suspicion of second-degree robbery, second-degree assault and reckless driving. Charles was arrested on suspicion of second-degree robbery and second-degree assault.
“The Sequim Police Department received several 9-1-1 calls during this incident from witnesses in our community, and thanks to them we have been able to better establish the trail of events that occurred prior to our arrival,” Turner said.
Agents with the U.S. Border Patrol as well as Washington State Patrol troopers also responded to provide assistance to Sequim police officers at the scene.