A Seattle man accused of stealing a truck and ramming two cars, including a police cruiser, was out of jail the next day. King County Superior Court Judge Johanna Bender decided there was not enough probable cause to hold him. This is despite the fact that another judge had ordered a bench warrant for his arrest two days before.
23-year-old Donald Plute was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing a truck in West Seattle.
Gregg, the owner of the truck who asked KING 5 not to use his last name, said he realized his truck had been stolen seconds after it happened, and jumped into an Audi SUV with a friend in pursuit. At one point, the thief put the truck in reverse, ramming the Audi so hard it totaled the car. The man even rammed a police cruiser that picked up the chase later.
"He assaulted three people with intent, could have killed any one of us including a police officer," said Gregg. "He's gonna kill somebody."
The thief eventually took off on foot. Police allegedly found Plute hiding under a deck at a nearby home and arrested him.
Plute has an extensive criminal history as a juvenile and adult, including taking a vehicle without permission, assault, theft, criminal trespass, burglary, possession of stolen property and attempting to elude police.
In September 2012 he was arrested for reckless driving and failure to comply, and pleaded not guilty. When he didn't appear for a court hearing on Monday, August 5 for that case, a judge ordered a bench warrant for his arrest. That was a day before he allegedly stole Gregg's truck.
A spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor's Office says when he appeared in court Wednesday, Judge Bender did not know about the bench warrant from the previous case, because it wasn't issued until later Wednesday, after Plute was already released.
Prosecutors could still charge Plute for the car theft case. That decision will come sometime next week.