A Spokane teenager stole a dump truck and took it for a spin Monday morning, crashing the rig into two Valley homes before residents chased him down and held him at gunpoint.
The boy, 17, was arrested for first-degree theft and booked into the Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center. He faces additional charges of hit and run and driving with a suspended license.
Washington State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Chris Powell said the truck was taken from a fenced lot at Appleway Septic Tank Service, 9400 E. First. The keys were in the truck, which was attached to a trailer loaded with a backhoe.
About 2:30 a.m., the boy turned the rig into a subdivision at Eighth and Farr, lost control and ran into Doug Furlott’s basketball post.
The driver kept going, swinging the truck through a yard across the street. He ran over a mailbox, shrubs and a light pole before crashing into Sheila Christensen’s station wagon, pushing it into her garage door.
“We heard this noise, and my husband looked out the window and said, ‘I’m going after him,”’ Sheila Christensen said.
Her husband, Bruce Christensen, met up with Furlott, who brought his handgun when the two jumped in Christensen’s pickup and drove after the teenager.
As Sheila Christensen talked to a 911 operator, the dump truck whipped around corners in the subdivision. Sparks flew out from under the trailer, which had lost a tire, she said.
“He was driving all around, I could see him while I was on the phone,” she said. “I don’t think he could find his way out of the subdivision.”
Her husband and Furlott finally caught up with the dump truck and ordered the teenager out. Furlott pointed his gun at the boy, who informed the men he could just run away.
“Not with one leg,” Furlott said simply. The teenager stayed.
Trooper Wayne Turner arrived 20 minutes later and told Furlott he wouldn’t need the gun anymore. Then he arrested the teenager, who told Turner he stole the truck because he wanted to go to jail.
“He was high on something,” Christensen said. “He kept talking about methamphetamine labs and all sorts of other nonsense.”
The couple took Monday off from work and spent the day talking to insurance agents about the damage to their home. They estimate it will cost between $5,000 and $10,000 for repairs. A boat and lawn mower inside the garage also were damaged by Christensen’s car.
“It’s a real mess,” she said. “And he doesn’t have insurance.”