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Five Teens Arrested In Auto Theft, Joy Ride Nic Basketball Coach, Wife Left Keys In Vehicle In Driveway

Wed., April 9, 1997, midnight

Police arrested five teenagers Monday night after they allegedly stole a college basketball coach’s Ford Explorer and fled from officers, according to a Kootenai County sheriff’s report.

About 11 p.m. Monday, Hugh Watson, North Idaho College men’s basketball coach, and his wife, Anna, were at their home on Hayden Avenue in Hayden Lake.

Their Explorer was sitting unlocked in the driveway with a full tank of gas and the keys in the ignition.

Anna Watson watched as two young men drove away in the Explorer, according to the sheriff’s report.

Sheriff’s deputy Joe Bodman spotted the vehicle about 10 minutes later - as well as a car, with three teenagers inside, that was following the Explorer.

When deputies turned on their flashing lights to get the two drivers to stop, the Ford Explorer raced off, according to the sheriff’s report.

Although the driver of the smaller car did pull over, the Explorer sped into Coeur d’Alene at more than 65 mph, blasting through stop signs until it crashed through a 6-foot wooden fence into the back yard of a residence.

A Coeur d’Alene police officer arrested the male passenger as the driver ran into the trees, according to the report. Using his police dog, Bodman was able to track down the driver hiding behind a tree, according to the report.

The driver of the Explorer later told investigators that he had been dropped off in Hayden by the youths in the smaller car. They had planned to wait for him while he burglarized cars in the area.

But when he opened the Explorer’s door and noticed the keys were in the vehicle, he decided to take it. He then met up with his friends and they drove off, according to the report.

All three teens in the other car were arrested.

, DataTimes



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