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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Stolen car catches fire during north Spokane County pursuit

UPDATED: Fri., June 29, 2018

A stolen vehicle caught fire during pursuit by a Spokane County deputy Friday. (Spokane County Sheriff’s Office)
A stolen vehicle caught fire during pursuit by a Spokane County deputy Friday. (Spokane County Sheriff’s Office)

A stolen vehicle caught fire north of Spokane, on Hazard Road, while the driver was attempting to evade a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy Friday morning.

According to a news release, a witness reported seeing two men arrive in the 9500 block of North Normandie Street in a white Dodge truck. The witness said one man exited the truck and entered a black Honda with Oregon license plates belonging to the witness’s brother. Both men drove west toward Wall Street.

As a deputy drove to the scene of the reported theft, he spotted vehicles matching the witness’s description: a Honda followed by a Dodge. After the deputy activated his sirens, the driver of the Honda accelerated and the driver of the truck maintained his speed and did not yield. The deputy said that after passing the truck, he saw the Honda, still driving fast, hit a large dip in the road and begin to smoke.

The deputy slowed to avoid damaging his vehicle but caught up with the Honda about 12 miles down the road. North of Wild Rose Road, the deputy saw the Honda smoking, unoccupied and parked diagonally, according to the release.

After the truck arrived at the scene, the Honda caught fire and soon was engulfed in flames. After backup, firefighters and a K-9 unit arrived, deputies attempted to locate the driver of the Honda but were not able to find him.

Deputies arrested the driver of the Dodge truck, whom a witness identified as Harley M. James, after a search of his name revealed an existing warrant for driving while suspended, failing to use an interlock device and driving with an expired or altered trip permit. Deputies also found a folded piece of tinfoil containing a substance that tested positive for heroin when they searched his pockets, according to the release.

Deputies arrested James on the warrants, and for theft of a motor vehicle and possession of a controlled substance.

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