by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--On Feb. 1, a fast-food restaurant worker started her 1987 Subaru running to let it warm up, and went back inside the building. When she returned, her car had been stolen.
Her car turned up in Sultan the next morning, Friday, Feb. 2. That day, she drove her other car to work, a 1988 Volkswagen Jetta, only to have it stolen as well. Police believe that the set of keys left in the ignition of the Subaru were used to also gain access to the Jetta.
Enter Woodinville Community Police Officer Kent Baxter. Baxter responded to the call around 8 p.m., and upon hearing that the woman's first stolen car had turned up in Sultan that morning, sent a teletype to Sultan with a description of the Jetta and the license numbers.
Sultan Police Officer Minor pulled up the teletype and spotted a Jetta fitting the description being driven on the Sultan Basin Road heading in the opposite direction. Because of poor, icy road conditions, the officer wasn't able to immediately turn around and stop the car.
Minor turned around and began heading in the direction of the Jetta, westbound on SR-2 to Monroe. He caught up with it and determined by the license plate that it was the same vehicle. When he tried to stop it, it "took off," he said.
The chase was on. With speeds reaching 85 MPH, the Jetta continued towards Monroe. Minor called in assistance from the Sheriff's Department. When the Jetta and the pursuing Minor arrived in Monroe, around 10 p.m., there was a blockade of State Patrol, Monroe Police, Snohomish County Police, and Sheriff's Department cars with flashing lights on, all stretched across the street.
The car finally stopped, and the four occupants, all juveniles, were taken into custody and transported to Denny Youth Center. Their parents were also notified.
One of the juveniles was from Startup, one from Sultan, and two from Baring, near Skykomish. Two of the occupants were female, ages 14 and 12; the other two were male, ages 14 and 15. They may be charged with two vehicle thefts in King County, and possibly additional charges for the high-speed chase in Snohomish County.