The “Not So Great” Attempted Train Robbery
Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a male after he boarded a train, assaulted the engineer, and appeared to try and pilot the locomotive. The suspect, who was contacted earlier due to his disorderly and odd behavior, attempted to flee on foot and physically resisted arrest. He was charged with several felony/misdemeanor charges.
On December 18, 2019, at approximately 9:20 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputy Derek McNall, Deputy Hunter Ballou, and Deputy Spencer Rassier responded to the report of a disorderly and argumentative male in the parking lot of Home Depot located at 5617 E. Sprague. An employee reported the male, later identified as 39-year-old Jason L. Souder, was videotaping employees, and when contacted, Souder was argumentative and refused to leave the property.
When Deputies contacted Souder, he was seated inside his vehicle. Souder’s behavior was odd as he kept stating he hadn’t done anything and didn’t know why he was being contacted. He stared at Deputies, rarely blinking, and made comments about their equipment/weapons. He stated he didn’t recognize their authority as a Deputy and refused to leave the property.
The employee said he was unable to officially trespass Souder due to company policy.
Souder continued his strange and erratic behavior and appeared to be attempting to bait the Deputies into a confrontation. Without a person responsible for the property trespassing Souder, Deputies could not remove him from the private property. Deciding to de-escalate the potentially volatile situation, the Deputies discontinued their contact with Souder.
Approximately 15 minutes later, Deputies responded to the report of a male who illegally boarded a locomotive engine, attached to several cars, on the tracks behind Home Depot and assaulted the engineer.
When Deputies arrived, they learned Souder boarded the engine and began wildly swing his arms, striking the engineer. Souder grabbed and began manipulating the controls of the engine. Fearing Souder had knowledge of the engine’s operation or would somehow take control of the train, the victim distracted Souder and successfully secured the brakes and throttle into an emergency shutdown mode, preventing Souder’s attempt to piloting the train.
With probable cause to arrest Souder, the Deputies approached him as he argued with another railroad employee near the tracks. When Souder noticed their approach, he turned in the direction of the train and fled on foot. Deputies told him to stop, but he continued his flight toward the engine.
With his refusal to stop and fearing he planned to enter the engine, a Taser was applied, causing Souder to drop to the ground. As Deputies attempted to place Souder in handcuffs, he struggled and kicked despite continued orders to stop resisting. At one point, Souder reached toward his waistband. Not unknowing if he was armed, Deputies physically gained control of Souder.
Souder was advised of his rights but made no acknowledgment, stating he hadn’t done anything wrong.
Souder received medical treatment and was later booked into the Spokane County Jail for Malicious Injury to Railroad Property, a felony, and misdemeanor charges of Assault 4th Degree, Criminal Trespass 2nd Degree, Resisting Arrest and Obstructing.