SEATTLE - A thief who stole a car that a West Seattle woman left running in her driveway used the vehicle in a crime spree before crashing it into another car as he tried to outrun police on New Year's Day.
Debbie Lacayo told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News that she started her Mercedes Tuesday morning to warm it up because the doors were frozen.
"I was going to let it idle for about five minutes or so just to warm it up, so that it wouldn't freeze again," Lacayo said. "I feel bad that it was used in a crime."
Seconds later, she saw a man get out of a passing car.
"My daughter and I both said, 'Oh, he's walking to the car. So I opened the door, and I ran out there and said, 'Hey! What are you doing?' And by that time, he was inside the car, and so I grabbed the passenger side of the car and tried to open the door."
The thief raced away.
Eight hours later, a neighbor called 911 as he watched a burglar stealing from a home at 42nd and Graham. Seattle police spotted the burglar racing away in the stolen Mercedes.
Police said he was going so fast that he skidded into an oncoming BMW, leaving three woman inside injured.
The suspect and the three women in the other car were taken to Harborview Medical Center.
Police said that leaving a car running unattended is against the law and subject to a $50 fine.
Prosecutors said the suspect is Sydney Smith, 52.
Smith was still at Harborview Wednesday afternoon, a hospital representative said. There were no details about his injuries or condition.