Land and air law enforcement search puts neighborhood on edge

Ferndale Police talk with a subject captured in the Skyview neighborhood after a lengthy search.
Ferndale Police talk with a subject captured in the Skyview neighborhood after a lengthy search (November 21, 2018). Photo: My Ferndale News

Residents in the Skyview neighborhood were feeling a bit unsettled this afternoon when they realized a Customs & Border Protection helicopter was hovering overhead and several marked law enforcement vehicles with their flashing lights on were taking up positions around the neighborhood.

Events leading up to the search could be heard on law enforcement radio. About 1:45pm, Lummi Nation Police had attempted to pull over a subject for speeding but the VW Jetta he was driving sped away at a high rate northbound on Haxton Way, passing other vehicles unsafely. The burgundy VW Jetta was then found in the ditch at the intersection of Lampman Road and Haxton Way with the engine running and the driver had disappeared.

Officers from the Ferndale Police Department and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office arrived to help search for the subject. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel, including a helicopter, also joined the search.

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The search continued for nearly an hour before the subject was seen running from a Border Patrol agent through a backyard of a residence in the 5400 block of Bluesky Way. All units set up a perimeter along Imhof Road, Ulrich Road, S Church Road and Douglas Road and the CBP helicopter focused in on that area.

Ferndale Police Sergeant Travis Card said a K-9 unit from the Bellingham Police Department located the subject hiding in a shed. It was reported about 3:20pm that the subject had been taken into custody.

The subject, Justin K Smith, age 34, was discovered to have at least one outstanding warrant from the Department of Corrections for escape from community custody and was later booked into the Whatcom County Jail.

WCSO is investigating the crash at Haxton Way and Lampman Road according to Card.

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Joe is the founder of My Ferndale News. As a Ferndale resident, he hopes to empower the community with free access to news that matters and makes a difference in the day-to-day challenges faced while we work and live in the Ferndale area.