Authorities said a man wearing a yellow dress who had just been released from a privately run mental hospital first stole a school bus and later drove a piece of heavy equipment through the home of his estranged wife.
Employees of Osprey Rafting on Saturday said they saw a man wearing a yellow dress drive away in the company’s yellow school bus from an area east of Leavenworth on SR 2 around 7:40 p.m.
Chelan County sheriff’s deputies responded and found the bus heading eastbound. Deputies said the driver ran a red light near Monitor and they tried to pull the driver over, but the bus did not stop.
Due to Washington’s new police reform laws,* in this case, deputies were not allowed to pursue the bus.
After the bus traveled through Wenatchee and across the Senator George Sellar Bridge, Douglas County deputies followed the bus and tried to make a traffic stop, but the driver did not pull over and deputies had to stop following.
On Sunday night, authorities at the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office were called by an officer with the Chewelah Police Department in Stevens County, who said they believed they had the bus-theft suspect in custody.
Chewelah police said the suspect stole a front-end loader and then drove it through his home. His wife had fled the home when she learned her estranged husband may be nearby. Police said the suspect also flipped a vehicle onto the building.
The man’s identity was verified by Chelan County deputies, and he was wearing the same yellow dress as when he was seen stealing the school bus, police said.
Investigators said 39-year-old Andrew S. Loudon was released from a privately run mental hospital early Saturday and then made his way to the Leavenworth area, where he allegedly stole the bus, then abandoned it near Moses Lake and hitchhiked his way to Spokane and then Chewelah.
Loudon is being held on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, first-degree malicious mischief/domestic violence and attempting to elude a police vehicle.
*According to Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett, law enforcement cannot pursue vehicles in Washington state any longer unless the four elements below are met:
- Probable Cause for a VIOLENT OFFENSE, SEX OFFENSE or ESCAPE (from custody or detention facility) or reasonable suspicion for DUI
- Pursuit is necessary to identify or apprehend the person AND
- The driver possesses an imminent threat to the safety of OTHERS, AND the risk of failing to apprehend or identify the person is greater than the risks of vehicle pursuit AND
- Supervisor has provided authorization.
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