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Alleged thief leads high-speed police chase on new SR 520 bridge

Bellevue police took a man into custody Feb. 25 after he drove through a construction zone and ran across the new SR 520 Bridge that has yet to open. (Bellevue Police Department.

An alleged thief and his passengers officially became the first private citizens to cross the brand new State Route 520 Bridge.

Shortly after 7 p.m., Bellevue police responded to a shoplifting in the Bellevue Square Mall.

Seth Tyler with the Bellevue Police Department said when an officer attempted to pull the vehicle over the driver of the Chevy Impala took off down westbound State Route 520.

Related: SR 520 Bridge to open with massive public party and bike ride

That’s when things took an unexpected turn &#8212 a wrong turn. The suspect driving the vehicle &#8212 along with three other passengers &#8212 drove the getaway car into the construction zone for the new bridge, dodging barriers into the area. Construction workers were forced to jump out of the way of a car during a high-speed pursuit Thursday night.

The bridge is set to open in April.

“He actually drove through that active construction site, driving around construction equipment and finally came to a stop on the new east high rise,” Tyler said.

The suspect then left the driver’s seat and ditched the three passengers. He ran down the bridge, with police on one side, and the other, and in the water, too.

“He had nowhere to go other than down the bridge,” Tyler said. “We had a K-9 hot on his trail and we had a boat out on the lake, so he had nowhere to go.”

A Washington State Patrol officer eventually found the suspect hiding in the back of a pickup truck all the way on the west end of the new bridge &#8212 that’s nearly a 1.5 mile run on what is touted as the world’s longest floating bridge.

But it wasn’t long enough to evade the law.

“The driver told us he ran because he didn’t have a valid driver’s license,” Tyler said. “Unfortunately, he turned what could have been a misdemeanor into a felony.

All four suspects, the driver, and three passengers, were taken into custody and booked into the King County Jail.

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