The driver of a stolen pickup truck led a deputy on a high-speed chase through Oak Harbor Sunday night before crashing into a tree, fleeing on foot and hiding inside a dumpster, according to court documents.
Zachary K. Hertz, 33, of Bellingham appeared in Island County Superior Court Monday. Judge Christon Skinner found probable cause existed to believe Hertz committed the crimes of possession of a stolen vehicle, attempting to elude a police vehicle and criminal impersonation.
Deputy Prosecutor David Carman requested that Hertz’s bail be set at $100,000 because of his “pretty obvious risk of flight,” his danger to the community and his lengthy criminal record.
Skinner agreed, noting that Hertz is wanted in Whatcom County on a $500,000 warrant.
In a 2020 Whatcom County case, Hertz joined a police chase in an attempt to distract Bellingham officers who were pursuing his girlfriend as she was speeding away in a stolen car, according to the Bellingham Police Department. Hertz allegedly drove up behind pursuing officers and passed them at a high rate of speed.
On Sunday night, the pursuit began in Anacortes. Captain Chris Fuller with the Anacortes Police Department reported that the suspect vehicle fled from officers and “in the process allegedly drove directly at a marked patrol unit before narrowly swerving away prior to a collision.” The officers terminated the chase after the vehicle fled city limits at a high rate of speed.
The Island County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the fleeing vehicle. At 9:20 p.m., Deputy Vodeen Miller located the red pickup speeding south and passing another vehicle on Highway 20 at the north end of the city.
Miller chased after the pickup with lights and sirens on, but it did not yield. The pickup sped in excess of 100 mph on a residential street during the chase, ran red lights and nearly collided with other cars, the deputy’s report states.
The chase led to Goldie Road, Ault Field Road, Heller Road, Swantown Avenue and back onto the highway. The pickup ran a red light at the intersection with Erie Street and continued east in the opposing lane of traffic until the intersection with Pioneer Way.
The driver tried to turn left at the intersection but lost control and struck a tree near the Walgreens store. The deputy saw the driver, later identified as Hertz, get out of the car and run into the store’s parking lot, the report states.
Miller ran after Hertz, who disappeared after entering an alleyway behind the Ace Hardware store. After discussing the search with other officers, the deputy noticed that the lid on a dumpster was slightly raised and he could see arms and legs on top of the trash inside.
The deputy arrested Hertz, who allegedly gave a false name.
The report states that the pickup truck was stolen from Soundview Lane in Oak Harbor.
Hertz has a history of driving stolen cars and trying to elude police, although records indicate he hasn’t been very successful. According to the Island County Prosecutor’s Office, Hertz’s convictions over the years include two counts of possession of stolen vehicles, one count of attempting to possess a stolen vehicle and two counts of attempting to elude. In addition, there is an unresolved stolen vehicle and attempting to elude case against him.