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High-speed chase ends at landslide on Peter Dan Road


A landslide that started five weeks ago became the terminus of a high-speed chase Saturday morning that ended where the sliding hillside completely blocks Peter Dan Road, just north of Elmer City. Several police vehicles are seen on the road, where a tactical response team was helping local police search for fleeing suspects. - Jacob Wagner photo

A high-speed chase Saturday ended on Peter Dan Road when two vehicles, a police car and the pursued truck, both crashed into the landslide that spans the road. The two suspects then took off on foot, one of whom was later jailed.

The chase started around 7:25 a.m. when officer Dan Holland of Grand Coulee Police responded to a report of a disturbance with a knife at the Hill Street Apartments.

While en route, the officer heard that the subjects had left in a silver truck. Seeing the truck, the officer noted that it picked up speed in excess of 60 miles per hour, turning onto Young, to Main, to Federal, and then North on Highway 155.

A witness in Coulee Dam told The Star that a car speeding down the hill at Grand Coulee Dam had hit the bottom of the hill so hard that it "bottomed out and kept flying," followed by two local police units and a sheriff's car.

The officer pursued him with lights and siren on at speeds ranging from 60-100 miles per hour through Coulee Dam, over the bridge, and past Elmer City, before turning east onto Peter Dan Road, past the road-closed barricades.

About a quarter of a mile up Peter Dan Road, the pursued truck, as well as the police car, struck the dirt landslide that spans the entire road.

The officer's report states that the rising sun was blinding, and that there was a large cloud of dirt obstructing his vision. Estimated damage to the truck is $8,000 dollars, and estimated damage to the police vehicle is $3,000.

One subject, Michael Desautel, 31, was caught and taken to Grant County jail.

Wearing a blue shirt, Desautel ran down the gully below the road. The other suspect, wearing a grey sweatshirt, climbed the hillside above the road. Holland drew his gun and ordered the suspect in the grey sweatshirt to stop, but the suspect continued to run and disappeared out of the officer's sight.

When backup arrived, officers secured the vehicle, ensuring no one else was inside.

The Moses Lake Tactical Response Team, which happened to be in Grand Coulee for training, arrived on the scene and assisted in searching the area with drones, dogs, and open-area searches.

Sgt. Gary Moore found Desautel after a local resident said she had seen someone on her property matching his description. Moore found Desautel about a mile away and, after a struggle, detained him, Moore reported. Desautel was also found to be wanted on a Grant County misdemeanor warrant for failure to appear in court.

Desautel was taken to Grant County Jail, booked on charges of attempting to elude a police vehicle, two counts of malicious mischief, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and driving with a suspended license.

Residents of the apartment where the knife incident had been reported told police later that there had been no incident, and that no one was hurt.

The Moses Lake Tactical Response Team searched both sides of the road but did not find the second suspect.

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