Search for car thief delays opening of elementary school
A driver in a stolen vehicle fired on Kootenai County sheriff’s deputies shortly after midnight today, then fled on foot after crashing into a woodshed near Farragut State Park.
The man was captured around 8 a.m. He was identified as Dillen James Endres, 22, of Priest River.
Endres was booked into the Kootenai County Jail on charges of grand theft, driving without privileges and driving without insurance. He is scheduled to appear in court Friday and may face more charges.
The Idaho State Police has taken over the investigation because the suspect fired at sheriff’s deputies, said sheriff’s Lt. Stu Miller.
Gunshots allegedly hit the patrol cars of both deputies and Spirit Lake police officers, who were chasing the stolen SUV.
The incident began shortly before midnight when a police officer in Spirit Lake attempted to pull over the driver for a traffic violation for failure to stop. The driver fled, leading to a chase with the Spirit Lake officer. The armed driver fired on the police officer, hitting the car’s windshield.
Sheriff’s deputies and the ISP joined the pursuit, a news release from the sheriff’s office said. A gunshot also hit a deputy’s car in the bumper, Miller said.
The Ford SUV fled east on state Highway 54 toward Bayview at speeds approaching 100 mph.
At a traffic circle near Farragut State Park, the SUV turned south onto Goodhope Road and eventually crashed into a woodshed at the end of Goodhope Road. The SUV caught fire. The man ran from the scene.
The sheriff’s office sent a reverse 911 alert to the homes in the surrounding area asking them to lock their doors and not go outside. Lakeland School District responded by postponing bus routes in the Athol area and delaying the opening of Athol Elementary School.
Miller said the suspect’s SUV was stolen from a Lincoln County, Ore., home that was also burglarized. The homeowner was in Arizona at the time of the theft, Miller said.