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Wrong-way driver hits trooper

| May 8, 2020 1:00 AM

SPOKANE — A Hayden woman was arrested Thursday after allegedly driving her car the wrong way on Interstate 90, and then crashing into a Washington State Patrol vehicle.

WSP troopers arrested Amber Karns, 44, after she drove at least 13 miles eastbound in the westbound lanes from Spokane to Liberty Lake.

WSP communications received the first report of the vehicle traveling the wrong way on the freeway at 11:58 p.m. Wednesday. Troopers immediately began to respond as communications officers watched the vehicle via Washington State Department of Transportation freeway cameras.

Troopers observed the vehicle at Sullivan Road and drove parallel to the vehicle in the eastbound lanes attempting to get the attention of the driver, the press release said. The suspect vehicle continued at freeway speeds and passed a fully marked patrol vehicle at Barker Road.

“Fortunately, traffic at this time of night was light. Liberty Lake Police officers responded to the area and were able to successfully deploy spike strips but the suspect vehicle did not stop,” the release said.

Another trooper was able to get behind the vehicle and perform a PIT (Pursuit Immobilization Technique) maneuver just west of Liberty Lake, the release said. The PIT maneuver was successful but after spinning, the suspect driver took off again and struck the trooper’s patrol vehicle.

The trooper sustained minor injuries and was transported to a hospital, where he was treated and released.

After striking the trooper, along with a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle, the suspect vehicle continued back westbound in the westbound lanes, taking the Liberty Lake exit. The vehicle finally stopped at the gas station at Liberty Lake Road and Mission Avenue.

Karns was taken into custody without incident, according to a press release.

She was not injured and was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail. Karns was booked for felony hit-and-run and felony eluding, the release said.