Man steals bus, then steals front-end loader and crashes into house

CHELAN CO., Wash. — Deputies arrested a man for stealing a school bus and driving it across the state, before stealing a front-end loader and crashing it into his own house in Chewelah.

Andrew Loudon, 39, was released from a mental health hospital in Western Washington on Friday, July 23, made his way to Leavenworth and stole a bus, drove it to Moses Lake and abandoned it to steal a front-end loader, driving through Spokane into Chewelah and crashing into his house.

Loudon’s estranged wife was at the house, and fled when she heard he may be coming back.

Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett claims Washington’s new police reform laws prevented deputies from chasing down Loudon while he was driving from police. Law enforcement reportedly tried to conduct a traffic stop near Monitor, but had to end the pursuit when Loudon ran a red light, allowing Loudon to continue driving through Central Washington.

Loudon then reportedly ditched the bus and hitchhiked through Spokane to Chewelah, where he stole a front-end loader and crashed into his house, flipping another car into the building.

Burnett says the new reform guidelines require deputies to only pursue a vehicle when:

  • There is probable cause for a violent offense, sex offense or escape
  • Pursuit is necessary to identify or arrest the suspect
  • The driver is immediately threatening others, or failing to arrest them may threaten others, and
  • Supervisor has provided authorization

Loudon is charged with theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, first-degree domestic violence malicious mischief and attempting to elude police.