Traffic was light Saturday morning at the intersection of North Nevada Street and East Magnesium Road when a Spokane sheriff’s deputy spotted a suspicious-looking man in a pickup.
A routine check of the license plate quickly showed why the man was acting suspiciously: The 2004 Ford Ranger had been stolen from its owner in the Spokane Valley.
The deputy pulled in behind the pickup at 8:50 a.m., and before he could flip on his emergency light bar, the driver took off on what became a chase across the North Side.
With the help of another deputy, a neighbor and officers from the Spokane Police Department and Washington State Patrol, the man believed to have been behind the wheel of the stolen pickup was arrested in the Camelot subdivision north of U.S. Highway 2 after fleeing for part of the chase on foot. A K-9 unit helped track the suspect.
Scott M. Gustafson, 27, of Spokane, was arrested and booked into Spokane County Jail on Saturday on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and attempting to elude an officer.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Martin O’Leary said the deputy decided to engage in a chase because traffic was light at the time and the vehicle was stolen.
During the first part of the chase, the driver blew through stop signs and the deputy backed off for safety reasons, O’Leary said. After putting some distance between himself and the pursuing deputy, the man jumped out of the pickup and took off on foot. Another deputy found the pickup, and officers made some calculations about the direction in which the driver was running.
Officers set up what’s called a containment area and got a tip from a neighbor who saw a man running. Gustafson eventually appeared near the intersection of East Bedivere Drive and North Guinevere Drive in the Camelot neighborhood, where he was arrested.
Inside the truck, officers found a set of stolen license plates. Also, they retrieved a trail of clothing believed taken off and dropped by the suspect in an effort to change his appearance, O’Leary said.
“We usually don’t like to pursue, but we will with a stolen vehicle,” he said.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.