By Stevie Mathieu / The Columbian (TNS)
A Vancouver man was arrested on suspicion of methamphetamine possession and eluding police after he apparently took a car from a gas station in Kalama on Sunday afternoon and led officers on a chase through northern Clark County, according to the Washington State Patrol.
The ordeal began at about 3:30 p.m. when a man hopped behind the wheel of a 1987 Nissan 200SX while the engine was running at the gas station, WSP Trooper Will Finn said. As the Nissan took off, a man ran out of a nearby store and shouted that his car had been stolen.
Details were sketchy Sunday, Finn said, but the apparent car-theft victim either took or commandeered another vehicle at the gas station to give chase while his girlfriend called 911.
Troopers soon began following the Nissan south on Interstate 5 but lost sight of it near Ridgefield, Finn said.
Ridgefield police and Clark County sheriff’s deputies helped State Patrol keep tabs on the Nissan as it sped through parts of Ridgefield, Battle Ground and rural Clark County, blowing through red lights and stop signs and reaching speeds of 90 mph, according to emergency radio traffic monitored at The Columbian.
The suspect, later identified as Jamison Bell, 38, of Vancouver, pulled the car over at 32012 N.E. 102nd Ave. and fled on foot, Finn said. A police dog with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office caught up to Bell and bit him on the stomach.
Bell was taken in to custody shortly before 5 p.m., Finn said. He was treated at a hospital for his bite wound before police brought him to the Clark County Jail.
Troopers found a golf-ball-size amount of methamphetamine in the Nissan along with drug paraphernalia, including needles loaded with meth, smoking pipes and lighters, Finn said. Police also found drug paraphernalia on Bell when he was apprehended, Finn said.
Troopers are investigating the apparent vehicle theft, Finn said Sunday, adding that they were trying to find the Nissan’s owner. Troopers believe the Nissan’s owner recently bought the car but hadn’t filled out the appropriate paperwork for it yet, making him tough to track down, Finn said. Finn said he wasn’t sure where the Nissan’s owner went after he gave chase from the gas station.