Fire vehicle stolen, but not for long

When John Jones, 26, saw a $50,000 Olympia Fire Department command vehicle parked unlocked with the keys in the ignition at department headquarters about 9:50 p.m. Tuesday night, a voice inside his head told him to “take it,” court papers state.

“Jones said all he could think about was keeping to the right and keeping his foot to the floor,” an arresting officer stated in a report.

About 20 minutes later, as Jones led police on a high-speed chase on Old Highway 99 in Tenino, he struck a spike strip laid on the roadway by a Tenino police officer.

The stolen emergency command vehicle slid off the road after three tires popped, and it came to a stop in some small trees.

The Fire Department’s vehicle suffered severe damage to its tires and rims, as well as the front bumper. It’s unusable until repairs are made, court papers state.

On Wednesday afternoon, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy ordered Jones held at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of motor vehicle theft and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. She set Jones’ bail at $5,000 and also ordered that Jones undergo a “safe to be at-large” evaluation.

A Tumwater officer pursued the stolen vehicle on Capitol Boulevard.