A Seattle man stole an off-duty Seattle police officer's vehicle when she was killed as she stopped to help at a car crash, officials said.
Washington State Patrol troopers responded to a multiple-vehicle collision I-5 around 11:45 p.m. on June 12 that caused a traffic backup.
About 90 minutes later, witnesses reported a three-car collision in the backup, and a minute later a witness called 911 to say a pedestrian was hit by a car.
Medics confirmed that the pedestrian died as a result of the collision around 1:30 a.m.
Officials identified the pedestrian as Alexandria “Lexi” Harris, an off-duty officer from the Seattle Police Department. She was 38-year-old and a five-year veteran on the force.
According to a statement from the Washington State Police, Harris finished her shift, left the precinct in her personal vehicle when she came across the three-car collision.
Harris reportedly got out of her car, activated her hazard lights and began helping at the scene, according to the Seattle Police. She was then reportedly hit and killed by a driver, who remained at the scene. The crash that killed Harris remains under investigation.
Police reportedly discovered one of the drivers from the initial three-car collision fled in Harris’ vehicle scene before troopers arrived. The car was found abandoned later that morning in the Georgetown area of Seattle, according to Washington State Police.
Detectives actively searched for the suspect that stole Harris’ vehicle, with assistance from multiple other local and federal agencies, including members of the Seattle Police Department.
Police arrested Roger Lee Owens Jr., 49, from Seattle, at Bellevue, Washington, hotel on June 17.
Owens was charged with felony hit-and-run, theft of a motor vehicle, possessing stolen property, possessing a stolen firearm, and identity theft.
Owens was previously charged for drugging a 14-year-old victim, according to FOX Q13 News. He was also arrested in 2012 for felony robbery, along with auto theft, possession of stolen property, identity theft and drug charges in March 2021, according to KING 5 News.
Police said motorists in the backup left Harris for dead in the road.
“Hundreds, if not thousands, of motorists drove by this collision scene that was blocking a lane of a darkened freeway and in very heavy rain. Not one motorist even called 9-1-1 to report the collision or freeway blockage,” The Washington State Police said in a statement.
“Officer Lexi Harris, having just completed her shift with SPD minutes before, drove upon and stopped at this scene. Although Officer Harris wasn’t wearing the SPD uniform, she was no doubt continuing to carry out her public safety responsibilities — something she was under no obligation whatsoever to do ~ but did so for one simple reason: that’s who she was.”
Police reportedly made six arrests in total, some for allegedly helping Owens evade police. The other arrests were unrelated to the vehicle theft.