SEDRO WOOLLEY, WA — From the report of Officer Kerig Holmberg, lightly edited for clarity: On October 15, 2019, at about 0510 hrs, Sedro-Woolley Officers were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle, parked in the parking lot of the Burger King Restaurant, located at 600 Crossroads Square. An employee, who was just arriving to work, reported that there was a silver car parked there, which appeared to be unoccupied. The employee stated they were afraid the car’s owner might have entered the restaurant, which was not yet open.
When officers arrived, they located the vehicle parked directly in front of the building, just to the West of the front doors to the business. There was a male subject in the driver’s seat. When contacted, the driver of the vehicle refused to identify himself. Officers asked dispatch to see if the vehicle was in the local database and if there were any recent associations. Dispatch subsequently advised that there was a Garrett Richardson associated to the vehicle. They also advised that Richardson had a confirmed DOC felony warrant, along with a misdemeanor warrant out of Burlington. Officers asked dispatch to send a driver’s license photo of Richardson to their in-car computer. When the photo was received, officers confirmed that the subject in the vehicle was Richardson. Officers asked dispatch to contact the jail and see if they would accept Richardson on the warrants, and dispatch subsequently advised that the jail would accept him.
Officers re-contacted Richardson at the vehicle and told him that he had warrants and that he was under arrest. He was ordered to step out of the vehicle, several times, but he refused to do so. Officers attempted to extricate Richardson, but he began to actively resist them and threatened to start the car and drive away. Officers continued to struggle with Richardson, trying to get him out of the vehicle, and he was warned that, if he did not comply, he would be pepper sprayed. Richardson continued to resist, so pepper spray was deployed. At that point Richardson put the key on the ignition, started the vehicle and put it in reverse. At that point, an officer deployed their Taser, which proved ineffective as Richardson pulled the Taser probes out. Richardson started the vehicle again and began to drive away, as officers were still leaned into his vehicle. He pulled up onto the curb and fled out of the parking lot.
Richardson exited the parking lot onto Eastbound SR-20, then turned South onto SR-9. Officers followed in their vehicles, advising dispatch that Richardson was fleeing in his vehicle and his direction of travel. Richardson continued South on SR-9. Richardson stayed at the 50 mph speed limit as he continued South on SR-9, until he came to the South Skagit Highway, where he turned and headed east. Officer continued to follow Richardson, giving periodic updates to dispatch on location, speed, and traffic conditions— which were light.
Once on South Skagit Highway, Richardson accelerated, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph. After several minutes, just as officers were preparing to discontinue the pursuit, Richardson suddenly braked hard and pulled over to the northbound shoulder of the highway. He then jumped out of the vehicle, which was still in gear, and ran into the woods on the north side of the roadway. This area is heavily wooded, with heavy underbrush, so the two officers did not pursue him on foot into the woods. Dispatch was advised that Richardson had fled on foot, and additional units, to include K9, were requested.
At this time, Officer Katie Wilson noticed that she had received a cut to her hand during the struggle with Richardson. She further stated that her left wrist was injured. Officer Wilson also noticed that her body worn camera had been ripped from her uniform. The officers looked into Richardson’s vehicle to see if the camera had fallen off inside, at which time Officer Holmberg noticed the butt of a firearm wedged between the driver’s seat and the center console. The vehicle was secured and a tow was requested to seize the vehicle for evidence. Officer Wilson’s body worn camera was recovered.
Additional officers and deputies, to include a K9 officer and drone operator, arrived, at which time a perimeter was set and a track was begun. Sheriff’s Deputies also deployed a drone to help look for Richardson. Two and a half hours after it all began, the tracking officers heard shouting west of their location as the drone located Richardson – who was unable to swim – clinging to a log in the river. Officers were able to recover him from the river and take him into custody. Aid was called.
Richardson was taken to a waiting ambulance where he was treated and transported to United General Hospital for further treatment. Upon his release from the hospital, Richardson was transported to the Skagit County Jail, where he was booked on an investigative hold for two counts of Assault 2, Eluding, and Resisting Arrest.