A Lakewood man who led officers on a pursuit and crashed into the wall of the McKenna bridge in 2022 was sentenced to 181 months, or just under 15 years, in prison after he pleaded guilty to eight felony charges and a gross misdemeanor on March 7.
Three of the felony charges were committed in Thurston County on March 19, 2022, and five additional felonies out of Pierce County were committed between 2020 and 2022 after Pierce County transferred their charges to Thurston County for an agreed resolution.
A news release from the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office stated Robert Forgey was seen driving off the lot of CHS Northwest in a Ford F550 propane truck belonging to the company on March 19, 2022.
Officers from the Yelm Police Department were dispatched to respond to the auto theft. As the responding officer tried to initiate a traffic stop, the F550 accelerated to a high rate of speed and drove into the oncoming lanes.
“Due to the dangerous nature of the pursuit, the officer turned off emergency lights and siren, but back-up units placed spike strips which punctured both front tires and appeared to stop the vehicle,” stated the release. “As the officer was exiting his patrol vehicle to make contact with the driver of the F550, Forgey placed the F550 in reverse and intentionally rammed into the patrol car.”
Before the collision, the officer was able to place the patrol vehicle in gear and turn the steering wheel to avoid a head-on collision. The patrol vehicle was totaled due to the F550’s commercial-style reinforced metal flatbed, stated the release.
After striking the occupied patrol vehicle, Forgey continued driving erratically into oncoming lanes and struck an uninvolved vehicle. Pursuing officers attempted multiple PIT maneuvers but due to the F550’s size and weight, they were unsuccessful.
Officers described the pursuit as though Forgey was “using the vehicle as a battering ram,” stated the release.
Officers continued the pursuit until the F550 crashed into the wall of the McKenna bridge. Forgey immediately exited the vehicle and jumped off the bridge into the Nisqually River. As the defendant swam north in the river, an officer followed on foot until he was able to contact Forgey and place him in custody.
Forgey pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the following crimes: assault in the second-degree with a law enforcement aggravator, malicious mischief in the first-degree, attempting to elude a pursuing policy vehicle, an attended hit-and-run, two counts of burglary in the second-degree, two counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and possessing stolen property in the second-degree.
After Forgey serves his sentence, the court ordered he will be supervised by the Department of Corrections for 18 months.