Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Suspect arrested in truck theft

Elusive driver slips police chase

Express Staff Writer

A suspected car thief eluded Hailey police all day Monday, but officers who tracked him to Elkhorn ultimately got their man. Kane Ayub, 21, of Ketchum, was arrested and charged with stealing a 2000 Ford F350 from Bird Road in Ketchum Saturday night

"When the tires come off on Elkhorn Road, the rims are just dancing on the road," said Hailey Police Chief Brian McNary, describing the bizarre car chase, Monday, which began in Hailey and required police to throw spikes on Highway 75 south of Ketchum in an attempt to stop Ayub.

"He was going 35 miles per hour the last two and a half miles of the pursuit, but I'm sure he had the motor pegged," McNary said. "The left rear tire stayed on and kept pushing him to the right. People coming down Elkhorn Road stopped to see what was going on. There were four police cars following him."

When the story of a stolen vehicle first broke, McNary said he and Hailey Patrol Officer Steve England first saw Ayub at the McDonald's drive through in Hailey. "I was sure it was the vehicle. How he got away I can't understand."

After puzzling over Ayub's early morning slip, McNary and England went to Alturas Plaza for some lunch. McNary said that on the way he joked with England about how ironic it would be if Ayub turned up there. And, as luck would have it, England did spot the truck.

"The kid sees us and just punches it," McNary said. Allegedly, Ayub wove his way through the streets of East Hailey to Buttercup Road where the chase reached speeds as high as 85 miles per hour until traffic forced him to slow down near The Meadows on Highway 75.

A Ketchum officer then threw a strip of spikes across the road near the bridge north of St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, commonly known as the Lane Ranch Bridge, said Ketchum Chief Cory Lyman.

The spikes are designed to cause a timed release of air from tires, said Assistant Chief Mike McNeil. But, even with four flat tires, the maneuver only slowed, but didn't stop Ayub as pieces of tires flew off the rims as they gouged the road.

Ayub made a right on Elkhorn Road, ultimately coming to a stop in the parking lot of the Bonne Vie condominiums and again give McNary and England the slip on foot over the snow.

"(England) was ready to get him. He had his Taser out but then he got into the deep snow," McNary said. "I don't know how (Ayub) could walk on the snow. It was like a hippo chasing a gazelle. The kid had me by 23 years and 150 pounds."

Even England, the thinner of the two law enforcement officers, was post holing in the snow and unable to catch Ayub before he disappeared. Even with the help of Sun Valley Police Chief Cam Daggett's search dog, Ayub succeeded in eluding police until 4:30 p.m.

"He said he was in a crawl space above the front entrance (to the new Elkhorn Golf Course Clubhouse, currently under construction)," said Sun Valley Lieutenant Mike Crawford. Police finally cornered Ayub near a bus stop by the old entrance to the former Elkhorn Hotel.

"The construction people were done for the day. Everything was quiet," Crawford said. "We were close when we got the call."

Officers from Sun Valley and Ketchum congratulated England and McNary on their strident efforts to capture Ayub.

"Their assistance made things really easy," McNeil said, explaining that Hailey's examination of evidence including a cell phone found in the car helped to identify the subject of the search. "We take our hat off to them and thank all the other agencies."

Ayub is charged with grand theft, eluding officers and resisting arrest. He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in 5th District Court.

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