Officer Maris Turner said Christopher Lee Haltom, 29, of Sequim, James Edward Charles, 28, of Port Angeles, and Jeremy James Paapke, 20, of Port Angeles, raced their cars at speeds of up to 80 mph through Sequim, crashing into fences, a fire hydrant and eventually each other before coming to a stop in the parking lot of Paradise Restaurant on the corner of West Hendrickson Road and Sequim Avenue.
Turner said the ordeal began around 2:54 p.m. when Paapke and Charles gave Haltom cash to purchase methadone, a synthetic opioid prescription painkiller. Haltom took the money and got into his vehicle and fled, Turner said. Paapke and Charles got into their vehicle and pursued Haltom, with Paapke driving, she said.
The cars traveled several miles in the city and county on U.S. Highway 101 and then went back into the city along several streets. They turned onto Sequim Avenue and drove north through the school zone.
Turner said Haltom’s vehicle was struck by Paapke’s as he turned on West Hendrickson Road, pushing the car up on the curb.
At that point Haltom and Charles got in a physical altercation during which Charles took about $400, she said.
Officers arrived as Haltom was fleeing the scene and he was found hiding in a shed not far from the collision site, Turner said.
All three were questioned and later booked into the Clallam County jail.
Charles pleaded not guilty to a first-degree robbery charge in Clallam County Superior Court April 8. First-degree robbery is a Class A felony.
“The robbery might be self-help repossession but certainly not legal,” Judge Ken Williams said before reducing Charles’ bond to $10,000.
Charles posted bond and was released from jail April 12. He was placed on electronic home monitoring and given a 9 p.m. curfew.
Paapke was charged with second-degree assault, first-degree robbery, reckless driving and hit and run. He will be arraigned April 22 and he remains in custody at the Clallam County jail in lieu of $75,000 bond.
Haltom was issued four citations April 5 by Sequim police and thereby charged with hit and run, reckless driving, third-degree theft and possession of drug paraphernalia, Sequim City Attorney Craig Ritchie said.
He remains in custody at the Clallam County jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.