Editor's note: This story was published in Nov. 2016.
ELLSWORTH - What started as a simple traffic stop for a van failing to stop at a stop sign turned into a seven-mile chase that took police around the block a few times.
Trent A. Lovette, 17, Ellsworth, refused to stop the Dodge Caravan he was driving when police attempted to pull him after he allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign at 8:24 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Maple and Ray streets.
According to the complaint:
Police turned on squad lights, but the driver fled southbound on Maple Street, passing another vehicle on a double yellow line before turning west onto West Kinne Street. Police radar clocked Lovette at 40 mph.
While trying to negotiate the corner at West Kinne and North Maple streets, the Caravan jumped the curb at 137 W. Kinne St., struck the mailbox and damaged the yard. The van then drove through a construction zone (where no one was working at the time) before turning left onto Dana Street.
The van continued east onto Old West Main Street, heading toward downtown, then hung a left onto Ida Street, and another left again, back onto Kinne Street, where it jumped the curb at 627 W. Kinne St.
Lovette jumped out of the van and ran into the house at this address. Police saw the man run upstairs. Robert G. Ballinger, 29, and Emma C. Leonard, 17, both came to the door. They told police they didn’t see anyone run into the house.
After Ballinger was placed in the back of a squad car for questioning, Leonard came out of the home with Lovette in tow. According to police reports, she was “mouthy” and uncooperative.
A search of the van, which was still running, yielded drug paraphernalia including pipes and grinders typically used for marijuana and a filet knife. Lovette said the items weren’t his.
When Leonard asked if she could speak with Lovette before he was taken to jail, she was given permission as long as she behaved well. As she was walking past a Pierce County deputy, she used profanity. Police arrested her on preliminary charges of obstructing an officer. Court records indicate she is not facing charges.
Lovette was released from jail on a $3,000 signature bond Oct. 27. He is charged in Pierce County Circuit Court with felony knowingly fleeing an officer. His next court date is set for 2:30 p.m. Dec. 19.
Ellsworth police cited him with failure to stop at a stop sign and passing in a no-passing zone.