Driver of stolen RV crashes into home, flees wearing only underwear

by: Monique Ming Laven Updated:


GRANITE FALLS, Wash. - Part of Granite Falls is in shambles, much of it in shock after a suspect in a stolen RV lost control and took out five cars, two homes, and one fence. Then the suspect ran through the streets, shedding clothes, until he confronted a houseful of people in his underwear.

 The incident started about 5:30 p.m. when a man called 911 to say he saw his friend’s stolen RV in an Everett Walmart parking lot. He provided the license plate and police determined it was the stolen vehicle.

 Police tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver wouldn’t stop. During the pursuit by officers, the RV at times drove into oncoming traffic, before it went swerving and smashing through a small stretch of Mountain Loop Highway.  Police documents said at one point, when the RV was in Lake Stevens, the driver swerved into a head-on path with an officer, narrowly missing the patrol car.

See photos from the crash here.

According to Snohomish County deputies, the  driver also nearly ran over a jogger and three girls with a horse before the chase ended in Granite Falls when the RV slammed into a car and launched that car into the front of Gary Poplin’s home.  Read the probable documents in the case here.

 “I'm just glad it hit the telephone pole first otherwise I wouldn't have a bedroom,” he said, with a barely distinguishable maroon Ford wedged into his siding.

 That was just the beginning of the damage. The RV hit one other car, and broke through Poplin’s wooden fence, and took out the corner of Juliane Rowell’s home before crunching three other cars and finally stopping. Rowell was upstairs at the time and though there was a big earthquake.

 “Then my son started yelling, ‘Mom, Mom, you can't believe this:  someone ran into our house!'” she explained, standing next to the gaping hole in her front room.

 Though the RV was stuck among mangled metal, the suspect, identified in police documents as 33-year-old Everett man James M. Johns, kept moving.  He jumped out, and started running through the neighborhood, shedding his clothes. Johns got about third of a mile when he ran through a home and confronted a group of young people inside.

 “We were hanging out here and someone went running through the house in his underwear,” explained Bryan Crabtree.  “He said he was running from the cops and needed clothes, and we said no.”

 Instead, they ran outside and called police. Moments later, officers were there and pulled Johns out, who had managed to find a woman’s T-shirt and jeans inside.  That’s what he wore as he was booked into the Snohomish County Jail.

 No one was hurt in any of the homes involved, but the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said there was a man in one of the cars that was hit. He was taken to the hospital, but they had no word on his condition.

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