Man tries to steal police car; 2 officers hurt

Two Bellevue Police officers suffered minor injuries Wednesday morning when a male suspect attempted to steal a police car.

Officer Tyler Cornmesser was knocked down by the patrol vehicle causing injuries to his head, back and hands. Officer Darin Karosich was dragged a short distance, twisting his knee. Both were treated and released from Overlake Hospital.

The call was initiated by the officers at 12:32 a.m. The preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect, a 22-year-old Enumclaw man, walked away from Overlake Hospital after being admitted. He walked out to the street near 116th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 10th Street, where the officers were working a traffic control detail for a road construction crew. The male walked passed the officers, then turned around and walked back towards them as they stood near their vehicle.

The officers had noticed and were observing his approach when the suspect suddenly opened the driver’s door. Both officers immediately moved to engage the suspect, one of them calling out over his radio as they did so.

The suspect put the car in reverse. The vehicle accelerated backwards, southbound on 116th Avenue Northeast. The open door knocked Officer Cornmesser down, and Officer Karosich was pulled along with it. Despite their injuries, they still were able to stop the patrol car and take the suspect into custody. The first responding units arrived about 30 seconds later.

The suspect was transported to the Bellevue Police Department for processing. He is expected to be booked into King County Jail for two counts of Assault 3, Attempted Motor Vehicle Theft, and Resisting Arrest.

The exact sequence of events is still under investigation. The construction site was closed for the investigation and survey.

Both officers are law enforcement veterans. Officer Cornmesser, age 37, has nine-and-a-half years on the job. Officer Karosich, age 30, has eight years experience.

The patrol vehicle in question is an older car designated for traffic control duties. It does not contain weapons and has the onboard computer and radio removed. They are driven to construction areas and kept running (and attended) with the red and blue emergency lights on to encourage motorists to slow down in the work zones.

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