Taxi driver catches one of three suspects in Spokane Valley chase



Posted on January 22, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 22 at 7:24 PM

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.—A taxi driver helped catch a suspect accused of a high-speed chase.

Spokane Valley Sheriff’s deputies responded Monday to help Post Falls police officers in a pursuit of a stolen vehicle on Interstate 90.

The car continued to try and escape patrol units as the driver exited Interstate 90 at Sullivan. The car eventually stopped in the area of Olive and Vercker where the male driver and two female passengers bailed out of the car and fled on foot. 

Patrol units set up a containment perimeter and a deputy and his K-9 began a track of the suspects. The K-9 led to Virginia Road and East 6th Avenue where the driver, 28-year-old Mickey Santos, and 27-year-old Melissa Buchheit were found hiding in the bed of a pickup.

Santos and Buchheit were taken into custody.

Soon after, a Spokane Valley taxi driver approached the deputies and explained he had just received a call requesting a ride.  The ride was for a female who was acting odd and was in a big hurry to be picked up at a business near East Sprague and North Houk Road which is only a few blocks away from where the pursuit ended.

The taxi driver explained he was listening to the incident on a scanner and suspected the female might be the one who had not been located yet. Deputies stayed in contact with the taxi driver as he arrived at the business and picked up the female.  Deputies contacted the female, identified as 30-year-old Heidi S. Elliott and confirmed she was the suspect they were searching for. 

Several shaved keys were found during the search of the stolen car. Elliott’s cell phone, which deputies learned was used to make a fake 911 call during the pursuit as a distraction, was also located inside the vehicle.

During the fake call, a female allegedly told dispatchers there had been a shooting at the Cabela’s in Post Falls.
All three suspects were transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail. 
Santos was booked for felony Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Attempting to Elude and a felony warrant.
Buchheit and Elliott were booked for felony Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and a misdemeanor, Possession of Motor Vehicle Theft Tools.