A Pierce County man accused of robbing the Chehalis Home Depot in January was arrested early Saturday morning following a 100 mph police chase on northbound Interstate 5 between Winlock and Centralia.
The chase began after a Lewis County Sheriff's Office deputy approached a male driver “slumped behind the wheel” of a black passenger vehicle parked at the 76 gas station in the 100 block of Avery Road West in Winlock early Saturday morning to conduct a welfare check, according to court documents.
The deputy woke the driver, who was identified as Gareth Reed-Houser, 23, of Roy. The deputy ran Reed-Houser’s name and found a $50,000 active warrant for his arrest out of Lewis County Superior Court.
That warrant was first issued on Jan. 27 after investigators linked Reed-Houser to a vehicle that was involved in a robbery in Chehalis earlier that month. An unidentified male shoplifter had left the Home Depot on Jan. 2 and entered a vehicle, picked up an unidentified woman and child, then fled from pursuing officers. Due to the presence of a child in the vehicle and the driver’s “erratic driving,” officers terminated the pursuit.
After confirming the active warrant, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy ordered Reed-Houser to hand over the keys to the vehicle, but Reed-Houser refused, then made “furtive movements in the vehicle,” prompting the deputy to draw his firearm and request backup, according to court documents.
Reed-Houser then allegedly started his vehicle and fled the scene.
The deputy pursued Reed-Houser onto northbound I-5 and observed Reed-Houser accelerate up to 108 mph, with his vehicle splitting lanes.
Washington State Patrol troopers deployed stop sticks from the east shoulder near Exit 77, which successfully punctured Reed-Houser’s tires — but he continued driving at approximately 50 mph until he fishtailed near milepost 82 and wrecked his vehicle. He then fled the vehicle on foot. Officers located Reed-Houser “hiding in the brush,” according to court documents. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail just before 6 a.m. on Sept. 11.
In addition to the second-degree robbery and attempting to elude a pursuing police officer charges from January, Reed-Houser has been charged with an additional count of attempting to elude a pursuing police officer and one count of driving under the influence of methamphetamine.
Commissioner Pro-Tem Paul Strophy set Reed-Houser’s bail at $50,000 for the January case and at $25,000 for the new charges. Both bail amounts will need to be posted separately in order for Reed-Houser to be released.
His next court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled for Sept. 16.