Man charged with drive-by shooting, hitting school bus

Man charged with drive-by shooting, hitting school bus
Police respond to a hit-and-run with a Puyallup school bus Tuesday.

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- The convicted felon who allegedly crashed into a school bus full of children during his getaway from a drive-by shooting in a stolen car Tuesday in Puyallup is facing a litany of charges and being held on $1 million bail.

The Pierce County Prosecutor's Office has charged 32-year-old Sophead Chith with drive-by shooting, felony assault, possession of a stolen vehicle, unlawful possession of a firearm, reckless driving, hit and run, and driving with a suspended license.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, Chith fired two gun shots while driving a stolen Honda Civic on Meridian Avenue and fired two more shots at a witness who started following him.

While trying to get away, Chith ran a red light, hit a school bus and drove off, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

A witness in a nearby apartment complex reported watching two men and two women strip the wheels off the Honda and abandon it in the apartment's parking lot before driving off in an Acura.

Pierce County Sheriff's deputies stopped the Acura a short time later. The two women in the car, Tiffany LaPlante and Sothea Chum, reported dropping Chith off a few blocks away, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

Chith was arrested in a nearby Walgreens parking lot.

“This is another example of the serious dangers posed by convicted felons illegally possessing firearms,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a press release. “Thankfully and luckily, the victim of the drive-by shooting, the school children and their bus driver all escaped injury.”

Chith, who was convicted of felony theft in 2012, will be arraigned Friday afternoon. He was arraigned Wednesday for possession of a stolen vehicle in an unrelated case.

LaPlante and Chum are being charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.