News

Candidate’s 911 response investigated

By JESSIE STENSLAND

Staff reporter

There’s a twist in the case of an Island County Sheriff’s deputy under investigation for violating department policy by allegedly mishandling two 911 calls last week.

The deputy under the magnifying glass also happens to be running for Island County Sheriff this fall.

Deputy Jay Wallace said he could not speak about the incident. His wife, Lana Wallace, said her husband was given a direct order from Sheriff Mike Hawley not to comment on the situation.

“When the true facts are known,” she said, reading from a statement, “he will be completely exonerated.”

Last week, Hawley notified local newspapers that a deputy was being investigated for apparently shirking his duty by not fully responding to 911 calls from a woman who was allegedly beaten and held against her will at a Freeland home.

Hawley said he will not release the name of the deputy until the internal investigation is complete.

But according to a 911 call log — which is open to the public — Wallace was the “responding officer” to calls that came from the Shoreview Drive home at 11:23 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 and at 1:50 a.m. Feb. 8.

Prosecutors charged the suspect in the criminal case, 26-year-old Matthew Friar of Bellingham, in Island County Superior Court Monday with unlawful imprisonment, felony harassment and assault in the fourth degree, domestic violence.

Detective Sue Quandt with the Island County Sheriff’s Office outlined the unusual incident in her affidavit of probable cause. She did not name Wallace in the report.

She wrote that the victim and Friar were staying at his family’s cabin in Freeland when he attacked the woman without warning. He dragged her, kicked her, tied her to the stairs and threw a steak knife at her, court documents state.

The victim claimed Friar “periodically untied her and then tied her back up during the course of the night,” Quandt wrote.

The woman said she called 911 twice for help. The first time she left the phone off the hook and the second time she said, “help” and dropped the receiver.

When the deputy’s headlights appeared in the driveway, Friar forced her into a closet and threatened to kill her 3-year-old son if she made a sound, the report states.

Hawley said the deputy (presumably Wallace) left the residence without making contact with the caller, which is against departmental procedure.

Dispatch sent out the second 911 call to Wallace, but “there is no recorded deputy response,” Quandt wrote. Last week, Hawley said it appeared the deputy “did not bother to respond, violating all policies and procedures.”

The woman eventually left the home at around 11:20 a.m. after Friar fell asleep, court documents state. Deputies arrested him on a warrant out of Bellingham.

The woman had multiple bruises on her head, legs, ankles, back and shoulder.

Wallace, a Greenbank resident, is one of four Republican men who have announced they are running for sheriff. Hawley is not running for re-election in the November election.

The other candidates had little to say about the incident. Coupeville Marshal Lenny Marlborough, a candidate for sheriff, said he is confident that Sheriff Hawley will do a thorough investigation.

“Normally an outside agency would investigate a case like this,” he said.

You can reach Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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