February 22, 1995 in City

Valley Man Leads Troopers On Chase Drug Charges May Be Added; Neighbors Had Complained

By The Spokesman-Review

A Spokane Valley man led Washington State Patrol troopers on a high-speed car chase Tuesday morning that ended when the man crashed through his own fence and into a nest of problems.

John L. Mitchell, 24, E11612 Empire, was arrested on felony charges of attempting to elude police.

More charges could follow, Sgt. Chris Powell said. One trooper saw about 10 marijuana plants in a large storage shed behind Mitchell’s house Tuesday morning.

A trooper was stationed on the property until detectives returned with a search warrant about 4 p.m., but someone had broken into the shed through a rear entrance and removed the plants.

“They pulled a hot one on us,” Powell said.

The car chase began about 7 a.m. near Trent and Vista and reached speeds of 100 mph on Trent and 70-75 mph in a 25 mph residential zone, said trooper Rod Mittman.

Neighbor Dan Marvicsin said he watched the gold Ford Maverick with oversized tires zoom around the block several times, with the State Patrol motorcycle in pursuit. It finally skidded into the driveway and crashed through a closed gate draped with a huge Budweiser beer sign.

Troopers said they found Mitchell in his house, where he had changed clothes, shed his shoes and pretended he was asleep.

A trooper led Mitchell from the house about 10:15 a.m., clad only in a dirty white tank top and black shorts. Walking barefoot, the suspect stepped gingerly across gravel in the road.

Tuesday morning, neighbors gathered to watch detectives inspect Mitchell’s house and yard - areas they had been videotaping and complaining about to county officials for months.

Neighbors say Mitchell burns garbage, buries dead dogs on his property and does not control the stench of raw sewage emanating from the back yard. They say people come and go from the house at all hours.

“There’s a little bit of everything going on,” neighbor Scott Lanes said. “We want these people out of here. This is 24 hours a day.”

County zoning official Louis Webster has inspected the property three times since Dec. 1.

Each time he said he found violations, including an unlicensed truck in the front yard, and numerous disabled vehicles.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email