Stolen Trailways bus recovered in Spokane Valley

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Trailways bus stolen Monday morning was recovered just about an hour after it was taken.

The bus was taken from the downtown bus and train station on 1st Avenue around 8 a.m. Monday. The driver had left the bus idling with the keys in the ignition when Sam McDonald, 22, got in the bus and drove away.

Authorities alerted the media and a resident in the Ponderosa neighborhood spotted the bus heading northbound on Dishman-Mica Road and called 9-1-1.

Stolen bus recovered

McDonald pulled the bus into the Savage Land Pizza parking lot near Dishman Mica and 8th. Authorities laid down spike strips to prevent him from leaving and had called in the SWAT team when McDonald stepped barefooted off the bus and was taken into custody.

According to deputies McDonald started his day at Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he had been undergoing a mental evaluation. Apparently sometime around 8 a.m. he decided his mental evaluation was over, left the hospital, headed down to the Intermodal center, hopped aboard the idling Trailways bus and drove off.

"This is just another great example, especially with the weather changing, of how dangerous it is for people to leave their vehicles unattended while they are running," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

The bus was recovered in good condition. No one else was in the bus when it was stolen.

McDonald was taken to the Spokane County Jail on a charge of possession of a stolen vehicle.