Man on stolen tractor gives low-speed chase, arrested at gunpoint

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SEATTLE — A Central Whidbey man’s joyride — on a stolen John Deere tractor — has him facing two felony charges, the Whidbey News-Times reported. The man was arrested after a 4-mile, low-speed police chase down State Highway 20 that ended at gunpoint.

The News-Times identified the man as Josiah Blodgett, 24.

On July 14, police were alerted by Blodgett’s aunt that he was intoxicated and stole a neighbor’s tractor. She also told them a shotgun was missing from her home, the paper reported. Shortly after that, police received a 911 call from another neighbor of Blodgett’s who said they had spotted him driving the tractor down the highway. When police located Blodgett they attempted to pull him over, but he kept driving.

When an officer tried to wave him down, Blodgett “smiled and waved at him and continued driving,” Undersheriff Kelly Mauck told the News-Times. The officer then followed Blodgett in his patrol car — at a speed of 15 mph. Other officers responded, with three patrol cars eventually pursuing Blodgett.

Blodgett reportedly swerved in the roadway a number of times and one officer had to stand on the highway to wrong oncoming drivers. According to police, they and several other vehicles “were forced to drive in reverse to avoid being hit by Blodgett,” the paper reported.

The chase finally concluded when Blodgett surrendered — more than five miles from where the pursuit started.

A search of the tractor uncovered a 357 magnum replica pellet gun. The shotgun was not loaded, but police said Blodgett had a number of unused shells in his pocket.

Blodgett was taken into custody and faces felony charges of eluding police and vehicle theft.


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