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Lewis, Officer James G.

End of Watch: 
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
County: 
Pierce
Agency: 
Tacoma P.D.

On Tuesday, April 27, 2004 at about 1429 hours, Officer Jim Lewis, a motors officer with the Tacoma Police Department, was responding to assist detectives who were stopping a vehicle that they believed contained a homicide suspect.

Officer Lewis was riding his Kawasaki police motorcycle, responding with lights and sirens as he traveled southbound on South Alaska Street.  As he approached South 55th Street, Officer Lewis began to pass a southbound motorist in a gold Saturn.  Suddenly, the driver, who later admitted to smoking marijuana a short time before the collision, pulled out in front of Officer Lewis.  Unable to stop in time, Officer Lewis slammed into the side of the car and was thrown against the car.  He hit his head on the ground and was eventually pinned under the vehicle. 

Officer Lewis was transported to Tacoma General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1716 hours.

The initial observations made by a responding officer was that the driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  No SFSTs were administered and no DRE evaluation was performed.  Later, toxicology results from a voluntary blood draw were 2ng/mL THC and 30ng/mL Carboxy-THC.

The driver of the Saturn was found not guilty of DUI and two counts of reckless endangerment in connection with the death of Officer Lewis.  It’s contended that the initial observations made by the officer who said the driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs resonated with the jury; ultimately leading to the suspect’s acquittal.