A man rammed his SUV into a fence at Bowerman Field but was unable to get onto the tarmac.
The Hoquiam Police Department tells KXRO that on Thursday afternoon just before 12:30pm, officers were advised of a vehicle driving recklessly on Airport Way heading toward Bowerman Field.
A few minutes later, the caller reported the driver had just rammed the fence surrounding the airport runway.
Police say that Sgt. Salstrom responded to the scene and found the vehicle crashed into a security fence on an access road to the tarmac.
The 43-year old man who was driving was behind the wheel with both airbags deployed, but did not appear to be injured except for a scratch on his nose.
They say that as Sgt. Salstrom attempted to talk to the driver, but he was almost comatose behind the wheel as he stared straight ahead and clutched a twig in his hand and commented that “God told him to do it”.
According to Hoquiam Police, Sgt. Salstrom utilized skills from Crisis Intervention Techniques training to keep the situation calm and he was able to secure the keys to prevent the man from driving off and requested an ambulance to respond, but without emergency lights or siren.
When paramedics arrived they were able to remove the driver and transport him to Community Hospital to evaluate him for any injures as well as a mental health evaluation.
The vehicle sustained significant damage and was towed from the scene.
Police say that thankfully, the driver was unable to get through the gate and out onto the airport as there was a small, single-engine aircraft actively using the tarmac.
Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers says “Over the past twenty years, the incidents facing officers which involve mental illness have increased. Officers are constantly challenged with evaluating the problem and trying to intervene on the street with people who should probably be in a hospital receiving treatment. Although Crisis Intervention Technique training is now required for all peace officers in Washington State, we have a long way to go to address the underlying mental health crisis in our state.”
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