Man accused of causing series of car accidents

An Oak Harbor man faces criminal charges after intentionally causing vehicle collisions on July 2.

An Oak Harbor man faces criminal charges after intentionally causing vehicle collisions on North Whidbey on July 2, according to court documents.

Police reports indicate that nobody was injured in any of the incidents.

James L. Madden appeared in Island County Superior Court on July 3. Judge Carolyn Cliff found probable cause existed to believe Madden may be guilty of two counts of hit and run of attended vehicle, resisting arrest, malicious mischief in the second degree, driving while license suspended and violation of an ignition interlock device requirement.

Cliff made the unusual decision of tripling the bail amount recommended by the deputy prosecutor. She said she wasn’t comfortable with setting Madden’s bail at $10,000 because of the alleged purposeful nature of his actions and instead decided it should be $30,000. In addition, she ordered that he should be seen by a mental health specialist for possible involuntary commitment to a treatment facility before he can be released on bail.

As the deputy prosecutor and judge discussed in court, the details of the crime are somewhat confusing as the investigation continues. Madden was the suspected driver of a brown Chevrolet truck that was involved in several incidents.

A trooper with the Washington State Patrol responded to a hit-and-run crash on Highway 20 north of Oak Harbor at about 8:20 p.m. The driver of a car reported that the pickup tailgated him as he headed north and then rammed him twice near Monkey Hill Road. After the car turned onto Monkey Hill, the truck sideswiped the car as it passed, stopped, went into reverse and rammed the front of the car, the trooper’s report states.

The car had to be towed from the scene.

Madden then tried to access the nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island base at the Banta Gate, but he was turned away because his license was suspended and he was required to have an ignition interlock device to operate a vehicle.

Madden allegedly tried to back into a car at the gate, causing the driver to put the car into reverse and go over spikes at the gate in the wrong direction, which punctured two tires, according to the report. Madden drove off.

Shortly afterward, a driver on Highway 20 in Oak Harbor reported a hit-and-run collision. The driver said he changed lanes when approaching a traffic light and saw the truck approaching him from behind at a high rate of speed. He changed lanes to avoid a collision, but the truck also changed lanes and stopped behind him at the traffic light.

The truck accelerated and rear ended the car. The driver, later identified as Madden, pulled up next to him and stared before driving away, according to a report by an officer with the Oak Harbor Police Department.

The police caught up with Madden in the parking lot of the AM/PM store. Madden struggled with the police and screamed incoherently about a receipt in his hand. The three officers were finally able to handcuff Madden after they all fell to the ground, the officer wrote.

During the incident, Madden’s relative notified police that he was having a mental health crisis.