Washington State Patrol Trooper Struck and Killed During Pursuit Near Chehalis
Chehalis, WA: Washington State Patrol Chief Batiste announced today that shortly before 3 p.m. Trooper Justin Schaffer, #646, the son of current Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer, was struck and killed by a fleeing suspect during a pursuit along I-5 in Chehalis.
Trooper Schaffer was fatally struck by the suspect's vehicle when placing spike strips down on Interstate 5 in an attempt to stop the pursuit. He is survived by his wife, Sandra, his mother and father Sheila and Glenn, his brother Brandon, and his K9 partner Frankie.
Trooper Schaffer's K9 partner was not injured and was in the vehicle during the time of the collision.
Background information on Trooper Schaffer -
Trooper Schaffer was born on January 30, 1992, in Glenwood Springs, CO. He graduated from Adna High School in Adna, Washington. Justin received a degree in Criminal Justice from Centralia College.
He began working for the Washington State Patrol on November 12, 2013, as a Trooper Cadet assigned to the Property Management Division.
On January 13, 2014, Trooper Schaffer started his training with the 27th Arming Class. On February 14, 2014, Justin continued his training with the 103rd Trooper Basic Training Class and was commissioned on September 16, 2014, assigned to Morton.
On September 1, 2016, Trooper Schaffer was assigned as a certified Drug Recognition Expert. On November 10, 2018, Justin completed K9 training and was a certified K9 handler to his partner “Frankie.” On December 13, 2018, Justin transferred to Chehalis.
This all started with authorities said at around 2:45 p.m. on March 23rd, a 39-year-old William D. Thompson, a Thurston County resident, was in the Pacific Mini Mart Monday at 9100 Pacific Ave Southeast and was accused of taking lighter fluid and trying to leave without paying.
The store clerk followed Thompson outside and tried to take his picture when the police say Thompson pointed a stun gun at the clerk and another customer.
Thompson got in a truck and drove it towards the clerk and fled.
Today, March 24, 2020, Thurston County deputies spotted the truck on I-5 near Maytown and began a pursuit of the vehicle that entered onto the southbound lanes of I-5 where he struck and killed Trooper Schaffer.
A half-mile away, after fatally striking Trooper Schaffer, Trooper Michael Farkas was attempting to stop Thompson with spike strips when Thompson "again drove straight toward Trooper Farkas and his patrol car," despite having a "clear path to stay left," according to court documents.
Thompson hit Farkas' car, sheering off a parts of the bumper, which hit Farkas in the chest.
The amount of force from the object could have caused serious injury had Farkas not been wearing his ballistic vest.
Thompson eventually lost control of the truck.
After a nearly 1.5 hour standoff, which included police firing pepper spray canisters into the truck, Thompson was arrested.
Thompson is facing numerous charges including now Vehicular Homicide for the death of Trooper Schaffer.
Washington State Department of Transportation crews closed down the southbound lanes during a crash investigation. Those lane have since been reopened.
A memorial service is pending. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, the Washington State Patrol will work with the family and consider how to best move forward in honoring our lost Trooper appropriately. We will make that information available to the public in the days to come.
Support from all around the region and country have started to pour in as this state mourns the loss of this amazing Trooper.