A 29-year-old Rochester man was arrested and jailed Tuesday afternoon following an extensive pursuit by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office in the Rochester area.
According to the Thurston County Jail roster, Johnathan Pennypacker was booked for attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and for a Department of Corrections warrant. His bail was set at $25,000.
Sheriff’s deputies initially made contact with the suspect during an attempted traffic stop at about noon near the intersection of Michigan Hill Road and Independence Road. The driver was not wearing a seat belt, Lt. Ray Brady said.
“The driver made an attempt to conceal his identity. He put his hand above his face as he passed the deputy,” Brady added.
As the deputy began the pursuit, the suspect turned from Michigan on to Lundeen Road and began accelerating in the southeast direction.
“He stayed on that road heading to speeds up to 80 with deputies pursuing him,” Brady said.
After nearly 3 miles on the road, the suspect’s 2006 Chevrolet Equinox turned on to Davis Road. At the end of the dead-end roadway, the suspect abandoned his vehicle and ran through the brush into a nearby forest.
Deputies called K9 Arlo in to track the suspect. As Arlo tracked him from about 500 yards away, the suspect attempted to sneak past the perimeter units, which included Sheriff John Snaza. He was quickly found and arrested without further incident.
The suspect denied being the driver and fleeing the deputies, Brady said.
“He was wet, muddy and had clearly been running through the brush,” he said, adding that the chase lasted a couple hours.