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Stolen car sends law enforcement on merry chase

"The 17-year-old driver of a stolen car led police on a zig-zagging chase through Oak Harbor and across North Whidbey before ending up in the middle of field on Arnold Road Thursday.State Trooper Norman Larsen said he was on his way to an accident in Skagit County at about noon when he saw a red 1994 Geo Metro with front end damage traveling southbound on Highway 20 at Monkey Hill Road. The car matched the description of a vehicle involved in the Skagit County accident - which may have been a hit and run - so he turned around to pull the Geo Metro over.But instead of pulling over, the driver sped up and led Larsen on a dangerous 30-minute chase across the north end of the island. He ran the car's plate numbers during the pursuit and he found that the Geo had been reported stolen earlier that day.Starting on Highway 20 at around Jones Road, the twisty-turny chase continued onto Regatta Drive, Whidbey Avenue, Highway 20 again, Goldie Road, Ault Field Road, Heller Road, Swantown Road, Fort Nugent Road, West Beach Road, Libbey Road, back onto Highway 20, and finally ending on Arnold Road. Another trooper and Island County deputies joined Larsen during the pursuit, while Oak Harbor police officers controlled traffic around the chase. The officers' excited voices filled the police radio band as dispatchers kept track of the chase route.Larsen said he's not sure why the juvenile driver allowed the car to drift onto the shoulder on Arnold Road, but the boy over-steered when he tried to get back on the road. The Geo Metro swerved over the centerline, went down the ditch - breaking off the back bumper - then continued driving in the grass for 100 feet or so.The boy eventually stopped and the troopers arrested him on suspicion of occupying a stolen vehicle and felony eluding. Larsen said he's not sure if the 17-year-old suspect is an Oak Harbor resident or a transient.The Skagit County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the accident to determine if the juvenile was involved. Larsen also says he's looking into several other things the juvenile may have been involved in.Larsen said there were several close calls, but nobody was injured and no other cars were damaged in the chase. He says it wasn't really a high speed chase, but the juvenile did drive over the posted speed limit for much of the pursuit. According to Larsen, the owner of the Geo Metro - who is an Oak Harbor resident - reported that her car was stolen Thursday morning.You can reach staff reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611. "

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