On Friday evening, March 15th, a Lynden Police officer attempted to stop a vehicle for defective equipment. The driver did stop but then decided to take off, blowing past stop signs and leading multiple law enforcement agencies in what became a sometimes high-speed pursuit across more than 25 miles.
According to Lynden Police Chief John Billester, the initial stop was made near W Front Street and the Guide Meridian. The suspect pulled the 1996 Honda Accord they were driving off the road into a residential driveway and appeared to stop. Then they proceeded to make a U-turn across the grass yard and took off westbound. They ran the stop signs at Tromp Road and then at Birch Bay-Lynden Road (BBL) before heading westbound on BBL. After doing 60mph in a 25mph zone and then reaching over 100mph in a 50mph zone on BBL, it was decided it would be in the interest of the public’s safety to call off the pursuit, Billester said.
Other law enforcement agencies were notified to watch for the suspect vehicle. According to radio transmissions, it was about 11pm and soon after calling off the pursuit that a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputy in unmarked vehicle reported they were following the Honda in the area of Bay and Blaine Roads and going the speed limit. The vehicle then proceeded eastbound on Grandview Road with the unmarked WCSO vehicle following.
The vehicle was later reported traveling near 100mph southbound on Portal Way from Grandview Road with law enforcement in pursuit.
Ferndale Police Sergeant Travis Card said in an email a spike strip was successfully deployed by a Ferndale Police officer in the 6000 block of Portal Way.
The pursuit continued down Portal Way and entered the southbound lanes of I-5. The disabled Honda came to a stop in the area of I-5 and Main Street and the driver was taken into custody.
Zel C. Herrera, age 31, was booked by Lynden Police into the Whatcom County Jail early Saturday morning charged with suspicion of 2nd degree driving while his license was suspended, attempting to elude police vehicles and driving under the influence.
As of this morning, Tuesday, March 19th, Herrera remains in custody at the jail pending a $10,000 bond/bail according to jail records.
Billester said during a phone interview this was a great example of multiple law enforcement agencies working together to reach a safe conclusion to unsafe situation. Card echoed the same sentiment, “This is a great example of how many law enforcement agencies worked together to get a very dangerous driver into custody and keep the public safe.”
Billester said the agencies involved included his department, Border Patrol, WCSO and Ferndale Police.