ATHOL, Idaho -- A high-speed chase that began late Wednesday night led to a manhunt near the town of Athol Thursday morning. The suspect, Dillen Endres, was eventually taken into custody after a search that lasted more than eight hours.
Several roads in the area were closed during the search Thursday, including Nunn Road east from Bunco Road and Goodhope Road south of Bunco. Meanwhile, Lakeland School District 272 said Athol Elementary would open two hours late due to the police activity. Bus service in the area was also delayed two hours, including service to Spirit Lake running through Athol. All other schools were open on time. Homeowners were told to stay inside.
“I just started to panic and wonder if you know he’s going to be coming through my back door trying some place to stay warm in the cold weather or find a hostage or do something I don’t know,” said Steve Kelso who lives nearby.
Investigators said just before midnight Wednesday, a Spirit Lake Police Officer attempted to stop a white Ford SUV for a traffic violation. The SUV failed to stop and the officer initiated a pursuit.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho State Police were called to assist with the pursuit as the vehicle fled east on Highway 54 from Spirit Lake at speeds near 100 mph, authorities said.
A Deputy Sheriff joined in the pursuit near Clagstone Road and Endres, 22, allegedly fired a gun at the pursuing officer and deputy, striking both vehicles.
Near the traffic circle on Highway 54, near Farragut State Park, the SUV turned southbound onto Goodhope Road and eventually crashed into a woodshed at the end of Goodhope Road. The SUV then caught fire as Endres fled on foot, according to investigators.
The elderly owner of the woodshed was storing all his firewood for the winter inside. The flames caused by the wreck reportedly burned the man's entire supply.
Numerous resources including the Idaho State Police, a KCSO K9 unit, Spokane County Air1 and the KCSO multi-agency SWAT Team were called in to assist with the search for the suspect.
Authorities said Endres had stolen the SUV from Lincoln County, Oregon while the homeowner was out of town.
Endres faces several charges including Grand Theft. He may also face other charges in the future, including attempted murder.