Armed carjacking leads to fire along I-5 in Tacoma

Jun 12, 2023, 3:37 PM | Updated: 5:26 pm

armed carjacking Tacoma...

An armed carjacking has three lanes of southbound I-5. (Photo courtesy of Pierce County Sheriff's Department Blotter)

(Photo courtesy of Pierce County Sheriff's Department Blotter)

Update 4:15 p.m.:

All lanes except the far right one on southbound I-5 at 72nd Street in Lakewood are now open.

Original Story:

An armed carjacking has three lanes of southbound I-5 blocked through Tacoma near South 72nd Street, just north of Lakewood. Two lanes of northbound I-5 are blocked as well after a 911 caller reported that her car was just stolen at gunpoint Monday morning at approximately 11:25 a.m. inside Orangegate Park, near 84th St E and 46th Ave E.

The incident led to a car fire that ignited brush on the side of the highway.

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The victim had an Air Tag tracking device hidden in her vehicle and kept deputies updated with the car’s location.

Deputies tracked the car to a shopping complex in Federal Way. When they attempted to stop the vehicle, it fled, hitting stop sticks the deputies had placed. Since armed robbery is a pursuable offense, deputies chased after the suspect.

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The pursuit went from Federal Way to Fife, and then onto southbound I-5. A deputy performed a successful PIT (precision immobilization technique) maneuver near the 56th St exit. The suspect’s car, which had lost a tire because of the stop sticks, crashed on the shoulder.

The driver fled on foot but was quickly apprehended as the suspect’s car then caught fire with a female passenger inside. Deputies rescued the woman before the car became fully engulfed and were both subsequently arrested. All lanes of southbound I-5 were blocked before two lanes were reopened around 1:40 p.m.

But the fire ignited the dry grass and quickly spread to two of the deputies’ nearby patrol cars. They extinguished one of the patrol car fires but had to wait for fire personnel to extinguish the other fires. No deputies were injured.

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In the aftermath, deputies recovered a firearm in the burned grass next to the stolen vehicle. The driver was positively identified by the victim and will be booked into jail once he is medically cleared.

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Armed carjacking leads to fire along I-5 in Tacoma