Whatcom County murder suspect arrested on Whidbey after chase

Joshua Adams appears in Island County Superior Court Wednesday after allegedly leading deputies on a chase down Whidbey Island. He’s suspected of killing his father in Whatcom County. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Joshua Adams appears in Island County Superior Court Wednesday after allegedly leading deputies on a chase down Whidbey Island. He’s suspected of killing his father in Whatcom County.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

A deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office caught an armed murder suspect after a dramatic chase down the middle of Whidbey Island Tuesday night

State troopers tried to stop the stolen pickup with a spike strip near the Greenbank Store, but the suspect continued driving on the rims, causing sparks and pieces of the vehicle to fly at the pursuing police cars, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Sgt. Mark Plumberg finally got his man near Langley.

The suspect, Joshua A. Adams, 41, stopped and got out of his vehicle, but started pacing; Plumberg tackled him on the side of the road.

A gun was found inside the stolen pickup, according to court documents.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said that Plumberg and other deputies didn’t know at the time that they were chasing a homicide suspect.

“It was definitely a high-risk stop,” he said.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said in an interview Wednesday that Adams is suspected in the shooting death of Adams’ 60-year-old father, Steven Siebert, in the community of Sudden Valley near Bellingham. Siebert’s body was discovered in his home just after 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Adams appeared in Island County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon. He looked bereaved and continually shook his head as Deputy Prosecutor David Carman discussed the allegations against him.

Judge Alan Hancock ruled that the state had probable cause to hold Adams on suspicion of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, possession of a stolen firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and attempting to elude.

Carman asked that Adams be held on a $1 million bail with the stipulation that Whatcom County officials could transport him to face possible charges in that jurisdiction; Carman pointing out that Adams has shown he’s willing to flee from justice. Hancock agreed.

Carman said that Adams doesn’t appear to have any connection to Island County.

According to Elfo, Siebert’s adult son arrived at the home they shared and found the body Tuesday; he reported the crime at 6:13 p.m. Siebert suffered multiple gunshots wounds. His vehicle and dog were missing,

Investigators quickly determined that Siebert’s other son, Joshua Adams, lived nearby but was missing. They identified him as a person of interest in the homicide.

Adams allegedly left his father’s vehicle at a gas station on Highway 20 near La Conner and stole a black Ford F-150 pickup, according to Elfo.

The owner of the pickup had two firearms in the vehicle when it was taken.

At about 11 p.m., Plumberg said he spotted the truck southbound on Highway 20 just north of Coupeville. He pulled in behind the vehicle and activated the lights and sirens, but the truck continued south at speeds from 45 to 65 mph, according to the trooper’s report.

Troopers with the Washington State Patrol placed a spike strip on the highway in Greenbank. The pickup struck the strip, but didn’t stop.

“The vehicle continued southbound as sparks began to come from the rims on the vehicle,” Plumberg wrote. “As the vehicle continued southbound, pieces of the tires began to come off the vehicle littering the roadway and striking the vehicle.”

Near the Classic Road intersection, the pickup came to a stop in the middle of the road and the driver — later identified as Adams — got out. Plumberg armed himself with his “patrol rifle” and yelled at him to go to the ground.

Adams paced back and forth a few feet, then jumped back in the truck and continued driving, according to the report.

The pickup’s rims started to come apart and sparks flew from the rear of the vehicle. Just after Maxwelton Road, Plumberg passed the truck and maneuvered to slow it. Adams tried to pass, but finally came to a stop.

Adams got out of the truck and again started pacing. Plumberg ran at him and tackled him on the shoulder of the road.

The dog and a semi-automatic handgun were found inside the truck, Plumberg wrote.

Court documents state that Adams admitted to having a felony history out of California.

Elfo said Whatcom County investigators took Adams from the Island County Jail Wednesday and booked him into the Whatcom County Jail on investigation of murder.

Adams’ bail was set at $1.5 million in Whatcom County Superior Court Jan. 23.

The murder weapon was not found, Elfo said, and detectives are just beginning what will likely be an extensive investigation.


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