Suspect Driving Stolen Box Truck Tries to Evade Arrest
Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies safely ended the pursuit of a stolen box truck and took the suspect into custody. An employee of a company reported the truck was mobile and believed it had been stolen but hadn’t reported it yet. He provided live GPS location updates as he tracked it on a computer. Two other law enforcement agencies attempted to stop the vehicle, but they terminated the pursuits after the driver recklessly fled. Deputies located the truck and tried to stop it in a less-traveled area, later blocking the driver's escape on a dead-end road.
On May 2, 2021, at approximately 7:50 am., an employee called 911 reporting they believed a company box truck had been stolen and that he was tracking the vehicle’s GPS location on his computer.
An Airway Heights Police Officer and a Kalispel Tribal Officer located the vehicle on two separate occasions and attempted to stop it, but the driver would not pull over, began driving recklessly, and almost struck one of the patrol cars. Due to safety concerns for the public on Hwy. 2 and other roads in the area of Airway Heights, both pursuits were terminated.
A few minutes later, with the truck's location being updated, Deputy Matt Gould and Deputy Mark Benner located it traveling north on Grove Road, which turns into Houston Road on the north end of Palisades Park. The driver, later identified as 39-year-old Joshua W. Johnson, choose to attempt to evade the Deputies and did not stop for their emergency lights.
As Johnson tried to evade arrest, Deputy Brandon Wilson positioned himself on Houston ahead of the stolen truck and deployed spike strips in an attempt to end the pursuit safely. Johnson swerved and tried to avoid the spikes but was unsuccessful. Johnson turned onto Colville, a dead-end road.
With nowhere to go, Johnson attempted to turn around. Deputy Gould placed his marked patrol car in front of the truck's path to cut off any avenue of escape. Johnson, still determined, crashed into Deputy Gould’s patrol car’s bumper.
His escape blocked, with Deputies ordering him to surrender as they drew their weapons, Johnson finally decided to give up and comply. He followed commands and was safely taken into custody without further incident.
The truck was confirmed as stolen, and a pallet jack that was in the back was missing. Deputies also found a large number of plywood sheets, a generator, a pressure washer, and some smaller tools in the back of the truck that didn’t belong to the victim.
Through further investigation, the Deputies learned these items (totaling approximately $5,100) were possibly stolen from a construction site located in the area of Trent and Barker.
Victim’s from both businesses responded to the location to confirm ownership of the stolen items.
A check of Johnson’s name revealed an active felony warrant for his arrest. (charges of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Burglary 2nd Degree, and Theft 1st Degree).
Johnson was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, and two counts of Assault 3rd Degree in addition to the felony warrant with the three felony charges.