News and Press Releases

Defendant Rammed Agent’s Car During High Speed Chase

October 19, 2006

TEDDY LEE HERSEL, 47, of Lakewood, Washington, was sentenced yesterday to 151 months (12.5 years) in prison, three years of supervised release, and over $21,000 in restitution for bank robbery, carjacking, and assault on a federal officer. In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton told HERSEL that he was “disgusted” by HERSEL’s actions.

Court records showed that the defendant committed three serious and violent crimes in a matter of minutes on the morning of December 19, 2005. HERSEL’s crime spree started with his robbery of the US Bank on Bridgeport in Lakewood, which he followed a few minutes later in an adjoining parking lot with a carjacking that caused serious injuries to two victims. Those two violent felonies were then soon followed by another during a high speed chase through University Place, when he slammed on his brakes and then sped backwards into a pursuing FBI agent who had just tried to arrest him at a gas station. HERSEL then turned into oncoming traffic and reversed direction, speeding through a red light at a busy intersection as he tried in vain to make his getaway. After crashing his vehicle into a tree when he lost control about two miles from the place where he rammed the agent, HERSEL ran and hid. He was arrested after the FBI agent and a Tacoma police officer found him hiding under a parked car in an apartment complex parking lot.

In asking for a lengthy prison term, prosecutors noted that HERSEL had a long criminal history, including a prior federal conviction in Oregon for bank robbery. They also noted that his actions that day had greatly affected the lives of many people, including the bank tellers (two of whom quit) and the carjacking victims (who suffered serious injuries, lost two months of wages, and are still suffering from severe emotional and financial distress due to the trauma of the event).

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Lakewood Police Department, with assistance from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the Tacoma Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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