Gladys Doidge was enjoying a cup of coffee and watching TV Monday morning when a man suddenly appeared in her bedroom. Little did she know that he would eventually lead law enforcement on a 45-minute chase through rural Thurston County.
“There’s this big dude,” said Doidge, 76, on Tuesday after seeing the man in her bedroom. He was later identified as a 31-year-old from Tacoma. Charging documents show the man claimed to be looking for his wife.
But Doidge said it’s not her nature to panic, so she began to ask him questions, thinking that perhaps he had some connection to the wedding held at her ranch on Saturday. Doidge has lived on the former horse ranch property off Vail Loop Road Southeast for 47 years, she said.
“Can I help you?” she asked the man, but noticed that he didn’t appear to be coherent and spent his time glancing around.
He finally said he was looking for a woman and left the house, only to return.
“Did you find her?” Gladys asked.
He left again and walked out onto her property, which is home to several outbuildings, she said.
While he did that, quick-thinking Gladys began to take pictures of his vehicle and license plate.
Later, he appeared to have a bag of potato chips in his hand and a leftover hamburger, thought to have been taken from her grandson’s vehicle, she said.
The man got back into his car and drove down her driveway, and that’s when Gladys finally called 911.
She watched as he drove out into her horse pasture and drove around in a big circle. By then, a Thurston County Sheriff’s patrol car had shown up, but the man drove around the car and onto Vail Loop Road.
“Why he chose this place I have no idea,” she said. “He seemed spacey, but he didn’t scare me.”
Although he didn’t scare her, Gladys said she now locks her doors after the incident.
SUSPECT APPEARS IN COURT
Mitchell L. Lofton of Tacoma made a preliminary appearance in Thurston County Superior Court Tuesday.
Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax set bail at $5,000, finding probable cause for first-degree criminal trespass and eluding a police vehicle.
Charging documents show that after Lofton was taken into custody Monday he admitted “that he had been in trouble before and that he was using some type of substance, possibly meth.”