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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man arrested after assaulting engineer, attempting to drive train, Spokane Valley police say

A 39-year-old man boarded a train in Spokane Valley, assaulted the engineer and attempted to drive the train before being arrested Wednesday night, the Spokane Valley Police Department said.

Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputies responded at 9:20 p.m. to reports of an argumentative and disorderly man, identified as Jason L. Souder, in the Home Depot parking lot on East Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley.

An employee told deputies the man was videotaping employees. When deputies approached Souder, who was sitting inside his car, he was argumentative and refused to leave the parking lot.

Deputies characterized Souder’s behavior as odd. He stared at deputies, barely blinking and made comments about their weapons and equipment, Spokane Valley police said. Souder repeatedly said he didn’t know why they were talking to him and that he hadn’t done anything, according to a sheriff’s department statement.

Souder told deputies he “didn’t recognize their authority as a deputy,” the statement says.

No one responsible for the property could trespass Souder, so deputies decided to remove themselves from the “potentially volatile” situation, according to the police department statement.

About 15 minutes later, deputies received a report that a man illegally boarded a train behind Home Depot.

When deputies returned, witnesses told them Souder boarded the train engine and started swinging his arms around, hitting the train engineer.

Souder then attempted to use the controls of the engine, according to the sheriff’s statement. The engineer distracted Souder and was able to put the brakes and throttle into emergency shutdown mode.

Deputies approached Souder as he argued with another railroad employee. Souder fled toward the train before deputies used a stun gun.

Souder continued to resist arrest after the stun gun was used and reached for his waistband, according to the police department.

Deputies eventually arrested Souder, the sheriff’s department said.

He was charged with felony malicious injury to railroad property, fourth-degree assault, criminal trespass, obstruction and resisting arrest.

He has previously pleaded guilty to charges including possession of a controlled substance, assault, trespassing, resisting arrest, obstructing a officer and assaulting a law enforcement officer.