Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bad Times Part II

Another of the greatest hits (actually factual misses) from the Sunday Times story on Colt, which I’ve mentioned before. The main reason I’m picking on that story is that for whatever reason, it has spread virally and has been picked up by dozens of blogs causing all kind of misinformation. Again, I feel these stories as they actually happened are already audacious enough.

“He evaded a police pursuit by crashing a Mercedes-Benz into a roadside gas storage tank, using the explosion as a diversion to escape back into the woods where, he says, he feels like a Native American.”

The facts: Colt did take a Mercedes-Benz. It belonged to a neighbor, Carol Starr, in whose house Colt also found the Mercedes polo he’s wearing in the famous self-portrait seen accompanying every story. Police saw the Benz driving erratically, heading north on South Camano Drive. When they tried to pull it over, the Mercedes bolted. After crossing Mountain View Rd, the Mercedes driver braked hard and turned into the parking lot of the Elger Bay Café.

The police were approximately 100 yards behind, but arrived just in time to see the Mercedes’ door fly open and — according to an eyewitness account of a man who was in the patrol car doing a citizen “ride along” — Colt jump out. The car was still in gear and moving, but this wasn’t a 30-mph rolling dive. Colt got out of the car and ran across the street, through a field and into the woods. The car kept rolling, and there is a propane storage tank at the back end of the parking lot… but somehow, the car made a perfect shot between the tank and the corner of the building with inches to spare.

No crash into the gas tank, no explosion. Of course, Colt didn't need an explosion to get away yet again (and we don't know if that was his plan). All he needed was his speed and agility.

If it had kept rolling, the Mercedes would have probably gone off a hill that’s about 20-feet-high. It’s steep, so I guess you could call it a cliff. Instead, it hit a big plastic trash dumpster and stopped. The police ran up and turned the engine off.

As to the Injun claim: I know of no direct quote from Colt where he says the woods make him “feel like a Native American.” BUT, his mom did tell me that they do, indeed, have Sioux blood in the family on her side.


  1. Cheers for the link, Bob. Great article in Outside, btw.

    Like you and many others, I hope there's a peaceful end to it all and that Colton can find some way of staying out of trouble henceforth. Unfortunately, there've been many tales of young people who started early and never got off that wrong track.

  2. Bob, I really enjoy your writing style and the information you have shared about Colton. I supervised Colton doing his Community Service at the Stanwood Camano Community Resource Center when he was a sweet yet troubled kid. I remember an incident when he came running in to the center for protection with 2 older boys chasing him from the library across the street, because of something he had said to them. I asked the boys to stop what they were doing and told them I was counting on them to be an example to him since they were older. While it was clear that he had really pissed the other boys off, Colton was very convincing to me. When they all came running in, I got behind the counter to keep myself safe and spoke to them all in a calm, kind voice. My boss later commended me for how I handled the situation. He said he thought he was going to have to call 911 at first. Prior to that I had met Colton at a barbecue on Camano Island when he was a very smart little boy looking much how he looks in his soccer picture. I remember some friends brought his mom firewood because they knew she was struggling. I still see her around at the Senior Center thrift store on the island and she says to me, "Hello. I haven't seen you in a while.". That's all. My heart goes out to the victims as well. All involved are in my prayers. I don't like the feeling of uncertainty and hypervigilance all of this gives us islanders.
    As you said, you look at the woods and wonder what is that sound I hear? And Colton are you there? Still, my heart goes out to this troubled young man, always has. I am so sad that he came to this and none of us could turn it around for him any sooner.
    As Colton is part of my community and it does take a village, I hope this all turns out well for him.

  3. Hi Kathleen,
    I'd love to talk to you about your work at the Resource Center. My email is