The taxi had just left a Dairy Queen drive-thru on Highway 99 when Little Harry paused and stopped answering the driver’s questions.
The Renton man, 38, told the cabbie they were being followed. So the driver tried to lose the car behind them, making a U-turn and darting into a Dollar Tree parking lot off the Mukilteo Speedway.
But the car — what looked like a red Honda — kept following, according to police reports filed in court. As the Yellow Cab sedan exited the lot, someone behind them opened fire. The cab, a Crown Victoria tagged No. 557, sped north toward Lake Stickney until the pursuing car was out of sight.
The shooter is still at large.
Once the cab came to a stop around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, one of the two passengers in the taxi climbed from the back seat to the front.
“Give me the keys,” said Little Harry, whose real name is Harry Nettleton IV, according to court papers. “I’m taking the cab. I have a gun, too.”
He reached into a sweatshirt pocket like he was pulling out a pistol, court papers say. The cabbie gave up the keys. The thief told him he’d return the taxi in two hours on Aurora Avenue. He drove in a loop and returned a cell phone to the driver, minus the battery.
The second passenger, a woman, got out of the taxi and walked away. She has been interviewed by Snohomish County deputies, and she’s not suspected of a crime, sheriff’s spokeswoman Courtney O’Keefe said.
Apparently, the carjacker was unaware the cab was tracked by GPS.
Deputies caught up to the taxi going south on I-5. At one point en route to Seattle, the thief drove the wrong way on the freeway.
The chase ended when the cab crashed at the entrance to the express lanes at Northgate. No one was hurt. Nettleton was arrested.
Deputies saw a gun on the floorboard of the cab and what appeared to be damage from gunfire near the trunk, police reports say.
In Nettleton’s pockets, deputies found about a half a pound of methamphetamine and 2 ounces of heroin, according to court papers.
In the past, the man has been found guilty of first-degree burglary, attempting to elude police, felony assault and felony theft.
He was sentenced to three years in federal prison in 2009 for having a 9mm Ruger pistol and a Taurus .38-caliber revolver in a hotel room. He was a felon at the time. Sentencing papers in that case say he was born in Everett, grew up in homes where his guardians used heroin and cocaine, and started taking hard drugs as a 16-year-old. He served more federal prison time when he violated probation by using alcohol and cocaine, skipping a drug test and failing to tell his probation officer he’d moved.
It all started on Wednesday afternoon, when the Renton man and a woman were picked up at a mobile home park off 202nd Street SW. He wanted some fast food that was about 2½ miles north. Then he noticed the car tailing him, possibly with two people inside, according to the sheriff’s office.
The crash on I-5 happened around 2:20 p.m., causing traffic havoc in Seattle. The damaged cab was impounded as evidence.
Nettleton was booked into jail for investigation of first-degree robbery, vehicle theft, attempting to elude police and drug possession. Everett District Court Judge Anthony Howard set bail Thursday at $200,000.
A jail booking sheet notes that Little Harry is 6-foot-2.
Snohomish County detectives were seeking tips to identify the shooter Thursday. Anyone with information should call the sheriff’s office at 425-388-3845.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.