Walla Walla officer dragged, injured after traffic stop

A shot was fired at the suspect vehicle, and the driver was arrested, authorities said.

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WALLA WALLA -- A Walla Walla police officer suffered minor injuries Monday after being dragged about 200 feet by a vehicle that was attempting to flee following a traffic stop, authorities said. The pursuit ended when another officer discharged his gun, striking the fleeing truck but not the occupant, and concluded with a Walla Walla man being arrested.

Officers arrested Jason K. Spencer, 38, who was booked into the Walla Walla County Jail on suspicion of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, driving while intoxicated, and first-degree driving while revoked, according to a police news release.

The injured officer was treated at a local hospital for a possible broken thumb.

Police did not release the name of the injured officer or the one who discharged his gun.

An officer had pulled Spencer over in the area of Rose and Spokane streets about 8:30 p.m. Monday for driving too fast for conditions and following too closely to the vehicle ahead of him, according to the news release.

As the officer prepared to arrest Spencer on suspicion of driving with a revoked license, Spencer allegedly began to drive off into the oncoming traffic lane, according to the release.

A backup officer who had arrived to assist in the arrest was attempting to turn off the vehicle's ignition when the vehicle started to drive off and started dragging him, according to the release.

The officer held on out of concern of being run over by traffic if he let go, the release states. Meanwhile, the officer who initiated the stop yelled several times for Spencer to stop, then fired a single round at the fleeing vehicle. The bullet pierced through the cab of the pickup, to the right of the driver's seat, and did not strike anyone, according to the release.

Spencer eventually stopped in the vacant lot across from the Rose Street Safeway, police say, but allegedly continued to fight with the officers. Spencer was subdued with a Taser and taken into custody. Spencer was not injured, and there were no other people in the vehicle.

Because a gun was discharged during the arrest, the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.

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