A man is facing multiple charges for allegedly carjacking a woman at gunpoint and leading police and a wild high-speed pursuit that ended in a fiery crash along Interstate 5 in Washington.
The wild saga began around 11:30 a.m. Monday when a woman reported that her car had been stolen at gunpoint at Pierce County’s Orangegate Park.
An Apple AirTag within the vehicle helped deputies track it down to a shopping complex in Federal Way. Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver fled, hitting stop sticks they had placed.
A pursuit ensued along southbound I-5 before a deputy performed a PIT maneuver near the 56th St. exit and the suspect’s car crashed along the shoulder. The suspect attempted to flee on foot but was quickly apprehended.
The suspect’s car caught on fire with the female passenger still inside. Deputies were able to rescue the woman before the car became fully engulfed.
The fire ignited the dry grass and quickly spread to two of the deputies’ nearby patrol cars. Deputies extinguished one of the patrol car fires but had to wait for fire personnel to extinguish the fire.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has identified the suspect as 27-year-old Randy Tipa. He’s been charged with first-degree robbery, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, unlawful possession of a firearm, and identity theft.
A judge set his bail at $250,000. The sheriff’s department said Tipa has prior convictions for similar offenses.