A Washington State woman was arrested last week after stealing a school bus and attempting to evade police by swimming to Canada.
Elizabeth Winter (police said they were not confident this is the woman's real name) stole a school bus from the Stanwood-Camano School District’s bus barn at approximately 1:45 p.m. on May 1, which coincidentally was the same day as the state's mandated one-day count of illegal school bus passers. There were no children on board at the time of the theft, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities advised the public to be on the lookout for the bus, which was reported to be weaving on northbound Interstate 5 two hours later.
About 30 minutes later, Winter rammed the bus into a police car at a gas station, and went on to speed into a dead-end harbor road. After this, the bus crashed into a log used as a parking lot barrier, dragged the log and became high-centered a few feet away from a tree.
According to witnesses, the woman then exited the bus and ran about 100 feet and jumped into Boundary Bay, reportedly shouting, “God will save me! God will save me!” She swam approximately 150 yards until police intercepted her in a powerboat, after which they spent nearly 20 minutes trying to convince her to surrender. They then pulled her into the boat after she started to show symptoms of hypothermia. Firefighters transported her via ambulance to a local hospital.
“She’s wet and very cold,” said Mike Haslip, Blaine police chief.
The suspect is charged with vehicle theft, felony assault on an officer and felony eluding of law enforcement. Authorities said they were continuing to investigate how the woman got access to the bus keys.