The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

May 2, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: Redmond Crime in 1968

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 11:54 pm

This week’s Recycled Newspaper draws from several May 1968 issues of the Sammamish Valley News, which is one of the relatively few years of the SVNcurrently available on microfilm.  As I skimmed through these issues, I foundthat there seemed to be plenty going on in Redmond to keep the police busy at this particular time, and for this week’s feature I will be drawing from a few of those stores.  I can’t tell if these stories represent anything more than the usual background  dose of criminal activity andbad driving, but a fair bit of what was going on at this time seemed to be noteworthy enough to write up in the local paper, often in a fair bit of detail.  In addition to what has been included here, the paper also included stories on several  instances of traffic fatalities in Redmond around this particular time, but I have chosen not to include those articles here.  There were also a number of other articles and ads of note within the SVN issues in question, and I will most likely be using some of those items for next week’s Recycled Newspaper.   For the time being, hit the jump for a look at some of the assorted miscreantismgoing on here in Redmond back in 1968.


SVN, May 1st 1969, Page 1

SVN, May 1st 1968, Page 1

 Our first foray into motorized mayhem in Redmond is a full-fledged  high speed police chase right through the middle of downtown Redmond., complete with shots fired (well, warning shots anyway) and two police cars damaged, and a juvenile perp (on drugs, of course) rung up on four different charges, andthey probably could have found a couple more to tack on if they wanted to.  Looking at this from a historical perspective, there are a couple of details which are interesting here, one of which I never knew about before reading this andlooking it up.   The flagpole in the town square aroundwhich our friendly neighborhood juvenile delinquent was reported to have made several loops is located on RedmondWay a block east of Leary Way at the corner of Redmond Way and 164th (where highway 202 curves North),  in front of the small shopping center where Ashleigh’s attic and Victor’s Coffee Co. are located.

As you can see, the flagpole is still here as well as what could (sort of) be called something of a square, but grass andtrees were planted here sometime during the Seventies (I’m not sure when the mural wall you see in the back was added, but I’d have to guess from its relatively good condition that it is far more recent,) which would presumably make this particular flagpole somewhat tough to do donuts around in a speeding car, especially if the cops were on your tail and you just happened to be on drugs at the time.  Looking at the HistoricAerials map from 1964 (the 1968 one would be much closer to the time this incident occurred, but the photos on that one are a lot harder to see,)  you can see that this area was more open at this time, and the area where you see trees and shrubs here appeared to be a concrete pad back then.  If you would like to take a look at this area, see the HistoricAerials link below and scroll to the left a few blocks.

Another detail in the article that might seem a bit odd to a current-day Redmondian is the part where our drugged-out speed demon heads east on Northeast 80th Street, and eventually manages to lose control at the intersection to Avondale Way, especially because these days there is no intersection between Northeast 80th and Avondale.  Again, thanks to HistoricAerials, we can actually take a look at the aerial maps from that time and see that NE 80th did in fact connect to Avondale directly back then:

By the time the 1980 images on the site were taken, this particular bit of road was gone, and 172nd Avenue NE had been built in its place, curving sharply to the left and heading up the hill into what was then new residential development.  Of course, looking at the site of the former road today also gives some indication of just why this particular road may have been removed.

Here is where the former road that connected to Avondale was located.  As you can see, this is a rather steep hill.  Given the less developed state of automotive tires and brakes in the late Sixties and the typically sluggish handling of those cars, it’s easy to see how even a perfectly good driver could run into trouble with trying to get a car stopped on this hill, much less a drugged-out teenage miscreant with the cops on his tail.  Apparently this wasn’t enough to put him out of commission though, and before the police could confront him he managed to get the car started and take off again,  back toward Redmond Way.  From there, he went back around to 80th and up 171st, where it appears the suspect ran into (and apparently rammed his way through) a police roadblock.  He then continued up to 95th, and back down 166th before finally pulling into a driveway and making an unsuccessful attempt to employ the “Olly Olly Oxen Free” defense, a longtime favorite of drugged-out and otherwise dumb criminals who seem to think that the police can’t arrest you if you make it home.  Finally, the suspect fought the arresting officers when he was finally caught, gaining a charge of resisting arrest to top off his late night crime spree (keep in mind this whole thing was happening in the middle of the night.)  The final tally for the evening’s festivities included four charges (Reckless Driving, Drugged Driving, Driving Without a License and Resisting Arrest) and a trip to Harborview for psychiatric evaluation. 

Click for an interactive map

Based on the description provided, I put together this approximate map of the route that this car chase would have taken through downtown Redmond and the Education Hill neighborhood.  Point 2 shows the Avondale intersection where the driver would have lost control.  Point 3 shows where the police roadblock would have been (I had to guess on that one though, andpoint 5 (I ended up doing these out of order) is roughly where the chase ended.  Point 4 is the site of the flagpole the suspect ran loops around, and point 1 is just there because Live Maps feels it necessary to stick a number on the route somewhere.  There are a couple of details I can’t be sure about on this, so I can’t say this is entirely accurate, but based on what streets did and didn’t exist here in 1968, this should be fairly close.  These days, it’s hard to imagine a high speed car chase running right through the middle of the Education Hill neighborhood (most fleeing felons seem to stick to the freeways for trying to beat the cops these days,) but I have to imagine that this would have been a sight to see when it happened.  That is, if not for the fact that it happened at 12:30 at night, and probably woke a bunch of people up.  Thankfully, no innocent bystanders were involved or injured by this incident. 

You’d think in a small town like Redmond, something like the above incident would be rare, but the next week’s Sammamish Valley News featured another crime story on the front page, this time a thwarted getaway from an armed robbery:

SVN,May 8th 1968, P. 1

 Less than a week after the previous story was published, a would-be armed robber learns that you can’t outrun Motorola.  This particular crook got himself arrested in short order by the RedmondPolice while trying to make a getaway from an armed robbery of the Chalet, a small grocery/deli store which was at this point a mile outside of Redmond, but is now within the Redmond City limits, andcontinues to operate to this day at the corner of RedmondWay/Redmond-Fall City Road and East Lake SammamishParkway.  In this story, our suspect (who is identified by name in the article) made off with $114 andfired  three shots through the window of the store on the way out before heading toward downtown Redmondfor his getaway.  Before the suspect could even make it to downtown Redmondthe police dispatcher had already provided the two police cars on duty with a description of the suspect and the vehicle he was driving.  Of course, the suspect didn’t bother doing much to avoid drawing attention to himself, as when officer Jerry Hausercaught up to him, he was driving on the wrong side of RedmondWay with no headlights on.  Shortly afterward, he was pulled over on Leary Way, quickly disarmed (since the police had been warned he had a gun) andarrested.  Since the robbery occurred outside of the RedmondCity Limits, the King County Sheriff’s Office handled the robbery charge, but the Redmond Police still managed to tack on several charges of their own.  And although $114 might not seem like a whole lot of money, according to this calculator $114 in 1968 dollars would be the equivalent of somewhere between roughly $705 to $734 today, depending on which data is used to calculate the inflation.

SVN, May 8 1968

SVN, May 15, 1968, P. 1

 Another week later, we see that the RedmondCity Council has just outlawed glue sniffing within the RedmondCity Limits.  In theory, this probably meant that all the kids would just head out of town to go sniff glue, but although I cannot determine the exact date, it appears that King County banned glue sniffing with Resolution 35389 aroundthe same time.  Unfortunately, the only info I can find online on that resolution indicates that it was passed in 1968, and doesn’t get any more specific than that.  Either way, glue sniffing is bad, OK?

SVN, May 1st 1968
SVN, May 1st 1968

Finally, in a bit of non crime-related news, we’ve got a driver who seems to in fact have troubles, namely an overturned semi at the intersection of 148th and Redmond-Kirkland Road, now considered part of Redmond Way.  Based on the description provided, this truck suffered a brake failure as it was going downhill, and ended up overturned in the ditch on the side of the road.  Based on the description provided, this truck was most likely traveling north on 148th (which does have a significant downhill section leading to the intersection,) and ended up overturned on the opposite side of Redmond-Kirkland Road, probably on the left side of the intersection.

Referring to HistoricAerials once again, it’s interesting to note that at this point 148th actually ended at this intersection.  In fact, the portion of the road which connects it to Willows Road still appears to be under construction if you look at the 1990 images (as far as I know the apartments along this stretch of road were built sometime in the mid-to-late Eighties, andthey are present in 1990.)  It’s also interesting to note that although the Redmond-Kirkland Road and 148thwere both 2-lane roads in 1968, by 1980 148th was expanded to its current 4-lane divided configuration, andthe Redmond-Kirkland Road was expanded to 4 lanes as well.

This concludes our brief look into some of the various things that were keeping the Redmond Police busy back in 1968.  There was quite a bit of other interesting material in these issues of the Sammamish Valley News, so for next week’s Recycled Newspaper, I will be using a few of the other stories andadvertisements I came across.  In the meantime, if you have to rob grocery stores while sniffing glue, at least try to drive on the right side of the road with your headlights on, OK?

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: