EPHRATA – A Coulee Dam man has pleaded guilty to vehicle theft for taking a Grant Transportation Authority bus and leading officers from several agencies on a chase from Moses Lake to Electric City.
Richard D. Manley 62, was charged Feb. 4 with vehicle theft and attempting to elude a police vehicle for the Feb. 3 incident.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced Feb. 22.
No injuries were reported during the chase. The bus received “minor damage,” according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.
GTA reported the bus stolen around 7 a.m. Feb. 3, and Moses Lake Police asked other agencies to be on the lookout. A Grant County sheriff’s deputy spotted the bus a half-hour later traveling on Highway 28 near Stratford, east of Soap Lake.
The bus allegedly took off north on Pinto Ridge Road, with more law enforcement officers joining the chase, said the sheriff’s office. From there, the bus went through Coulee City and then headed north on Highway 155.
Grand Coulee Police set up spike strips about seven miles north of Coulee City. Those spikes deflated one of the bus’s left rear dual tires, but the driver kept going at speeds reaching 80 mph, said the sheriff’s office.
“Just south of Electric City, another Grand Coulee police officer set up spike strips, which deflated the right front tire of the bus,” said the sheriff’s office. “About a half-mile later, the bus veered to the right while attempting to turn onto a street. The bus left the road, (went) through a ditch and up an embankment, where it came to rest.”
The Grand Coulee Dam School District was put into lockdown because of the chase.
Agencies involved in the chase included the Moses Lake and Soap Lake police departments, Grant County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol.