Over 900 drivers failed to pull over for troopers since January, report says

Flashing police lights are being ignored more and more often, according to the Washington State Patrol. 

So far in 2022, 934 drivers have failed to stop for WSP Troopers. 

An issue which cannot be compared to previous years; however, there were only 219 pursuits or chases WSP was directly involved in, in 2021.  

Sergeant Darren Wright, who has been with WSP for 31 years says something has changed. 

"We're always trying to improve, policies change," Wright said. "The way we do things, training changes and laws change and so we adapt to those changes and we move forward and continue to do our job within those parameters." 

A growing problem troopers are now dealing with daily, everywhere in residential areas, busy intersections even on the highway. 

"In some areas, it’s happening three to five times in a night shift and we're seeing it maybe one or two times a week during the day shift," Wright said.  

Incidents like these come after House Bill 1054 was proposed by Democratic representative Jesse Johnson and signed by Governor Jay Inslee in May of 2021. 

While it covers a wide range of topics, the law prohibits high speed chases, unless there is an "imminent threat" -- a reason to believe the driver has committed a murder, armed robbery, or rape and even then it must be approved by a supervisor to make sure it complies with the law. 

"We will do what we can to arrest the people that need to be arrested or stop people that need to be stopped," Wright said. "When we can't do that, and that's just something we can't do, we'll go on to the next one and see what we can do to help people." 

It’s still a felony to run from police and prison time is guaranteed, according to Wright. 

WSP isn’t the only one dealing with these types of situations; other local law enforcement agencies are also seeing drivers speed off. 

FOX 13 News reached out to Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and are waiting on their numbers.  

Still, WSP says they’re not giving up. 

"We're using other tactics to try to catch people that are trying to run from us," Wright said.  

WSP says they are using their helicopter to keep a close eye on drivers from up high until they come to a stop. 

Officers on the ground are then sent to catch up with the driver and arrest them. 

FOX 13 News has also reached out to Representative Johnson for comment regarding the latest statistics stemming from the law and are waiting to hear back.