Grass Valley man allegedly drove Red Cross vehicle to Washington without permission |

Grass Valley man allegedly drove Red Cross vehicle to Washington without permission

Natalie Johnson
Special to The Union

A Grass Valley man is being held on $15,000 bail for allegedly taking a Red Cross vehicle without permission to visit a friend in Washington.

Wade D. Amesbury, 25, was charged Tuesday in Lewis County Superior Court with second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission.

Attorneys raised concerns during the hearing about his competency to participate in the hearing.

"He does not understand why he's here," said defense attorney Joely O'Rourke, who represents defendants at their first hearings.

Amesbury, who communicated in English during the hearing, asked the court to appoint an interpreter in French, German or Japanese.

He told the court, through O'Rourke, that he was in Washington visiting a friend.

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Superior Court Judge James Lawler imposed $15,000 bail, citing concerns about Amesbury's likelihood to reappear at court if released.

At 12:47 a.m. on Tuesday, the Chehalis Police Department received a report of a customer at a restaurant who was unable to pay his bill.

Officers arrived and contacted Amesbury, who told police he was a Red Cross volunteer who was traveling to Seattle for a meeting regarding a natural disaster.

Officers checked his vehicle and found that it was reported stolen from the Red Cross in San Francisco, according to court documents.

Amesbury reportedly had no identification other than a declined credit card with his name on it.

The Red Cross in San Francisco confirmed that Amesbury is a volunteer, but said he did not have permission to take the vehicle, according to court documents.

He was arrested on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle and referred to prosecutors on suspicion of "defrauding an innkeeper."

Amesbury has criminal history out of Nevada County, San Luis Obispo, Oroville and Santa Rosa.

He has convictions for second-degree burglary, making and passing fictitious checks, obstructing and disorderly conduct. He was last arrested on March 5 in Nevada County, for violation of a court order to prevent domestic violence, according to court documents.

Johnson is a reporter for The (Centralia, Wash.) Chronicle.

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