Man leaves boy behind after Vancouver cop chase

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by Nina Mehlhaf and Jeff Thompson, KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 4:51 PM

VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver man accused of abandoning a young boy in a car after a police chase Thursday told police he acted stupidly and he forgot the boy was in the car. He appeared in court Friday to face a long list of charges.

It all started Thursday afternoon when Vancouver police were trying to pull over Emil Eckstrom, 40, for driving with a suspended license.

Officers said instead of stopping, Eckstrom kept driving. He drove his Ford Taurus up onto sidewalks, blew through stop signs and even drove into oncoming traffic.

That's when police said he got out and ran through backyards, even breaking a homeowner's wooden fence, until he was caught. Police quickly discovered a boy between 3 and 5 years old had been in the backseat with no seatbelt on through the whole chase.

Background: Driver flees police, leaves boy in abandoned car

Dennis Webster works at a gas station near the chase scene and he described what he saw.

"'Hey there's a little child here in this car.' I was kind of appalled that somebody would just leave a kid and run," Webster said Friday. "Looked like he was pretty scared. I mean, with all these lights and sirens." 

Police reports say Eckstrom's mother babysits the boy, and she left him in Eckstrom's care while she went to an appointment Thursday.

Eckstrom faced a Clark County judge Friday on eight charges, including attempt to elude, reckless endangerment, malicious mischief and driving with a suspended license.

His past criminal convictions date back to 1990 for burglary, suspended license and drug charges. Eckstrom was also wanted on a warrant for skipping out on past bail.

Child Protective Services took the boy to watch over him until his parents could be found. After his arrest, Eckstrom told police he forgot the boy was in the car, and admitted he acted "stupid" trying to get away.

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