$1 million bail for suspect in motorhome chase, crash

GRANITE FALLS — Bail has been set at $1 million for an Everett man suspected of leading police on a long and dangerous pursuit that ended near Granite Falls on Tuesday evening when a stolen motorhome crashed into multiple cars and a house.

Neighbors flagged down deputies when the suspect ran into a home. He was dressed only in underwear and asked for a change of clothes because he was “running from the cops,” a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy wrote in a report.

The people in the home ran from him.

James M. Johns, 33, stayed inside while police surrounded the home. He surrendered and made a brief appearance in Everett District Court on Wednesday.

He is accused of stealing a 24-foot motorhome from a Walmart parking lot and leading police from south Everett to Granite Falls. The drama began around 5:40 p.m.

James allegedly blew through red lights and stop signs and drove into incoming traffic on roads and highways, causing people to slam on their brakes and swerve to avoid crashes.

One deputy reported that the motorhome driver “swerved toward me … narrowly missing my patrol vehicle in a head-on collision” at 204th Street NE and 81st Avenue NE near Lake Stevens.

The motorhome also allegedly came close to running down a jogger, drove at a Jeep that swerved to avoid another head-on collision and made a Washington State Patrol trooper setting spike strips leap out of harm’s way.

The motorhome narrowly missed three girls walking a horse and veered toward another deputy who was trying to set a spike strip. The deputy also had to jump out of the way, court papers said.

Despite all the mayhem, the speeds of the chase did not appear to have topped 60 mph, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

On several occasions, deputies were called off the pursuit for safety reasons, including traffic congestion.

The chase ended when the man in the motorhome lost control and crashed into a house along the Mountain Loop Highway near Gun Club Road.

In a police report, deputies argued for a high bail because of “his carelessness for the public and public safety, (and) intentionally trying to hit and assault citizens and the police.”

The man has several felony convictions, mostly for property crimes.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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