Forks man who allegedly fled from crash found during warrant sweep

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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FORKS — The State Patrol will likely seek charges against a Forks man, now in custody, who reportedly jumped out of the driver’s seat and ran after a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 101 south of Forks last week.

Joseph Angel Garza Jr., 24, was in the county jail in Port Angeles on Saturday in lieu of $1,000 bail for two warrants.

He was arrested Friday.

Still ‘open case’

“It’s an open case, but now that they have a suspect in custody, we can look into putting charges together,” said Trooper Russ Winger, State Patrol spokesman.

“Probably at least hit-and-run, felony-type hit-and-run.”

Forks Police Administrator Rick Bart said Garza was found during a “warrant emphasis” conducted on the West End by police and both Clallam and Jefferson counties’ sheriff’s offices.

“[Garza] was inside the [Forks] city limits when we got him,” Bart said.

Wednesday collision

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office had said Garza is believed to be the driver of a red Honda that collided head-on with a white Pontiac sedan at about 3 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. Highway 101.

The driver and passenger of the Pontiac — Olympia-area residents Christopher Patterson, 31, and Arlene Casas, 37 — were taken to Forks Community Hospital by ambulance after the wreck and discharged following treatment for minor injuries, the State Patrol said.

State Patrol account

The Honda pulled out of a private driveway onto the highway and collided with the Pontiac driven by Patterson without yielding to traffic, Winger said.

The four passengers in the Honda stayed in the car after the wreck and identified the driver, Winger has said, adding that none was thought to have been injured.

Garza had a District Court warrant related to providing false information to a law enforcement officer and a state Department of Corrections warrant, according to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Norah West had said the corrections warrant was issued after Garza failed to report to his community custody supervisor in Port Angeles following a possession-of-controlled-substance charge from Pacific County.

In addition to State Patrol troopers, police, a Clallam County deputy, Forks Ambulance and Clallam County Fire District No. 1 crews responded to the wreck.


Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie contributed to this report.

Last modified: November 23. 2013 5:17PM
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