A Napavine man is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly stole a vehicle from a Chehalis driveway — with the owner briefly hanging onto the side as the vehicle sped away — before totaling the vehicle in a rollover collision in Centralia on Friday morning.
Tad Ray Foster, 25, of Napavine, is accused of getting into the driver’s seat of a 2021 Toyota Tundra while the passenger and her boyfriend were loading it up for a camping trip Friday morning. The passenger later told law enforcement that she had seen a man, who was later identified as Foster, walking on the sidewalk near the house while packing up the vehicle. He reportedly got into the driver’s seat when the vehicle’s owner briefly went inside to get more items for the camping trip.
The passenger told Foster to get out of her truck “and attempted to pull him out of the driver’s seat,” but Foster allegedly “pushed and fought (the victim) until he started the truck and fled from the scene at a high rate of speed,” according to court documents.
The passenger said she held onto the vehicle for a short time before falling to the ground.
The couple called law enforcement just after 7:05 a.m. on Aug. 12 and officers searched the area for the stolen Toyota “with no success,” according to court documents.
However, a short time later, aid crews were dispatched to the intersection of Little Hanaford and Loop roads in Centralia regarding a collision. The Toyota had reportedly driven off the road and into a ditch, damaging a number of trees and flipping onto its side, according to court documents.
Law enforcement confirmed the Toyota that crashed was the same Toyota stolen from Chehalis earlier that morning. No one was in or around the truck when aid units arrived, according to court documents.
However, a short time later, Foster reportedly walked up to the collision scene.
“His clothes were dripping wet and slightly muddy” and “he had visible injuries to his face,” including a “bruised upper lip, swelling on the right side of his temple, swelling on his left eyebrow and some bleeding on his lower lip,” according to court documents.
When asked how he sustained his injuries, Foster “appeared confused and claimed he had been in the woods building a fort when he heard a loud noise,” reportedly saying, “It’s cold out here, you know what happens … I’m not going to lie like we’re not all drug addicts.”
Deputies on the scene reportedly noticed Foster’s “eyes were bloodshot and watery,” according to court documents. An officer later reportedly “noticed the smell of alcohol coming from Foster.”
The vehicle’s owner soon arrived at the scene and confirmed Foster was the man who had taken her vehicle earlier that day.
He was arrested and transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. While at the hospital, Foster was allegedly “belligerent and continued (to) yell and swear, which was disturbing the staff and other patients,” according to court documents.
Foster was booked into the Lewis County Jail at 11:20 a.m. on Aug. 12 and has since been charged with one count each of first-degree robbery, hit-and-run to property, theft of a motor vehicle and interference with a health care facility. The most severe charge, robbery, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
A Lewis County Superior Court judge set Foster’s bail at $100,000 over the weekend ahead of his preliminary hearing Monday.
The judge on Monday lowered his bail from $100,000 to $10,000 at the prosecuting attorney's recommendation.
"The charge is first-degree robbery but there was no weapon or anything of that nature, so that's why I'm recommending that bail in this particular case," deputy prosecuting attorney Will Halstead said.