Cop chased the wrong car through South Seattle at nearly 100 mph
Ilya Ivanov was previously reprimanded for another pursuit that injured three.
Officer Iyla Ivanov was suspended for two days for initiating a high-speed car chase through Rainier Valley on a dodgy pretext, according to an OPA report released on Friday. The OPA also found that Ivanov gave misleading statements but stopped short of issuing dishonesty findings—a fireable offense.
In December 2022, Ivanov responded to a drive-by shooting near Rainier Avenue S and Henderson Street. After finding an assault rifle and spent casings inside an abandoned GMC Yukon, he saw a Silver Volvo SUV nearby preparing to leave the area. The Volvo sped away, and Ivanov assumed the driver of the Yukon was likely inside but never saw him enter the vehicle.
Ivanov radioed to other officers in the area, and two joined him to pursue the Volvo, believing they were chasing a felony suspect. During the chase, officers hit speeds nearing 100 MPH—nearly four times the speed limit for most Seattle arterials— and blew through multiple stop lights. One officer was forced to stop suddenly to prevent a collision with another car.
Several minutes into the chase, the sergeant on duty asked how probable cause was established for the pursuit. Ivanov responded that he believed the Volvo picked up the shooter after the drive-by.
The sergeant noted in his report that Ivanov “lacked sufficient information” to draw this conclusion. The Yukon driver was described as a “light-skinned 6’ to 6’2” Black male with a 49ers beanie and dreads,” whereas the Volvo passenger wore all black.
The pursuit concluded with the Volvo crashing into a center island, deflating its tires. Eventually, the vehicle stopped, and the occupants fled on foot. When the officers caught them, they realized the two were not involved in the shooting. The sergeant (WE#1) arrived and had the following exchange with one of the pursuing officers (WE#2):
When the officers interviewed the Volvo’s occupants, they said that they lived near the scene of the shooting and “fled out of fear.”
The OPA determined that Ivanov did not establish probable cause to initiate the pursuit of the Volvo and did not receive approval from his supervisor, as required by SPD policy. OPA argues that Ivanov may have had a reasonable suspicion that the Volvo was involved. Still, the policy requires officers to establish probable cause that a violent crime has been committed before initiating a high-speed chase.
In response to questions from the sergeant about his probable cause, Ivanov implied that all of the other pursuing officers saw that the shooter enter in the Volvo. This statement was flagged as misleading and potentially dishonest. However, OPA issued “inconclusive” findings on the dishonesty allegations, maintaining that they could not reach the elevated standard of proof established under the police guild contract for misconduct that could result in termination. The OPA ended their report: “The heightened standard applied to dishonesty allegations calls to question whether [Ivanov] was a deceitful or inartful communicator.”
Ivanov was previously reprimanded for failing to disengage from another high-speed pursuit once the risk outweighed the need to apprehend the suspect. In that 2021 case, Ivanov pursued a vehicle for more than six minutes, topping at more than 100 mph. It ended in Renton with a crash that injured the suspect and two other motorists. injuries
Iyla Ivanov has been with SPD since 2017, and he made $113,000 in 2022.
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