Friday Harbor man accused of assaulting a deputy

Mark Andrew MacDonald, 55, of Friday Harbor, has been charged with assault in the third degree against a law enforcement officer. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 19 at 9:30 a.m. in San Juan County Superior Court.

On July 13, an off-duty San Juan County sheriff’s deputy was in San Juan Island’s Garrison Bay setting crab pots and sport fishing with three others. He observed a 12-foot vessel with an outboard pulling multiple crab pots operated by a man, later identified as MacDonald. The limit is two pots per person, and the boat did not have a WN number, which is required by law to be displayed. The vessel proceeded north into Wasp Pass, and they lost sight of him.

The deputy and his friends fished for another 90 minutes and then started to head back to Roche Harbor. While en route, they encountered the same boat from before. They decided the “right thing to do” would be to get the individual’s name and pass it on to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The group brought their boat within 15-20 yards of the vessel, within hearing distance. The deputy identified himself as an off-duty officer while holding his ID out in front of him. According to the certification for probable cause, due to tidal conditions, the two vessels got within 5 feet of each other.

MacDonald seemed “confused and disoriented” and allegedly began swearing at the deputy after he was asked to provide his name. “The individual was not able to put together a full sentence and was heavily slurring his words,” according to the deputy’s report. The officer observed three pots with different buoys, none of which met legal requirements, as well as about a dozen crabs that were either female or juvenile Dungeness, which are illegal to keep. The deputy asked the man’s name again but he replied “with slurred swear words.”

MacDonald then turned the bow of his boat, which was in gear, toward the deputy, who put his right arm out between the two vessels so they wouldn’t hit. The suspect grabbed the deputy’s arm and pushed his chest. The officer was able to pull the safety cord of the outboard, which is a kill switch. While calling the sheriff’s office, MacDonald pushed him again.

“It was clear based on my training and experience that he was intoxicated, and it was imperative to end his voyage for his safety and the safety of others. I then grabbed the individual’s bow line and put distance between the two vessels. I informed the individual that we would be towing his vessel to the Roche Harbor boat ramp, where he will be meeting with the on-duty deputy,” according to the report.

While underway, MacDonald allegedly threatened to sue the deputy and his friends. He also pulled out the crabs in his pots and threw them overboard.

MacDonald’s record includes driving under the influence in Astoria, Oregon, and harassment in Lincoln County, Oregon.