We don’t normally cover traffic accidents, especially in Southern Idaho, but this press release from Idaho State Police reads like a script made-for-TV drama.
IDAHO STATE POLICE NEWS RELEASE
At about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 16th, an Idaho State Police trooper was dispatched to a reported hit and run collision near milepost 204 on I-84 in Minidoka County, Idaho. The trooper was advised that a 2006 Toyota Sequoia collided with a 2008 Ford F-350 pickup.
Additional information indicated that the Sequoia driver ran from the scene but soon thereafter returned and attempted to steal the F-350. When the pickup driver refused to hand over his keys, the suspect poured gasoline on the F-350 and set it on fire. When a passerby in a GMC Sierra stopped to help extinguish the flames, the suspect stole his vehicle. The suspect, driving the stolen Sierra, struck the passerby while fleeing the scene.
A Heyburn Police officer responding to the incident attempted using spike strips on the Sierra, but the suspect avoided the strips and continued driving. The Heyburn officer pursued the Sierra, which exited the freeway. Once off the freeway, the suspect maneuvered the Sierra and intentionally collided with the Heyburn Police vehicle, a 2013 Ford Taurus.
Both vehicles were damaged and stopped. The officer contacted the suspect as he exited the Sierra and unsuccessfully attempted a Taser application (shot and shock). The suspect stole the police vehicle and tried to run over the officer. The officer fired multiple shots into the police vehicle, striking the suspect as he drove away.
About a mile later, the police vehicle became inoperable due to damage sustained during the collision and the suspect ran into a cornfield. Officers located the empty vehicle and contained the area. A police K-9 was deployed and located (bit) the suspect nearby.
The suspect, a 39-year-old male from Kemmerer, WY, was taken into custody without further incident. He was transported to the Minidoka Memorial Hospital for a gunshot wound and K-9 “contact injuries.” (bites and scratches?) The suspect was medically cleared and booked into the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center on probable cause for arson (I.C. 18-802) for lighting the F-350 on fire, grand theft (I.C. 18-2407(b)(1) for stealing the Sierra, a second count of grand theft for stealing the Heyburn Police vehicle, and aggravated battery (I.C. 18-907(1)(b) for striking the driver of the Sierra with the Sierra.
He was also charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer (I.C. 18-915) for using the stolen Sierra to crash into the Heyburn Police vehicle, as well as a count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer (I.C. 18-915) for attempting to run over the Heyburn Police officer. He was later issued additional citations for reckless driving, leaving the scene of a property damage crash, and failure to wear a safety restraint.
The injuries to the suspect were considered non-life threatening and he remains in jail. No medical update is available.
No injuries were reported by the involved Heyburn Police officer, an 8-year veteran. He is on administrative leave per Heyburn City policy.
The driver of the GMC Sierra, a 42-year-old Ammon, ID man, was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. There is no update on his medical condition. The Sierra sustained extensive damage when it collided with the Heyburn Police vehicle.
The driver of the burned Ford F-350 involved in the original collision, a 43-year-old male from Twin Falls, was not injured during the incident.
It is unknown why the incident occurred, and detectives continue investigating. Additional charges may be forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Critical Incident Task Force (CITF) is conducting the investigation. CITF is a team of investigators and professional staff from the Idaho State Police and local law enforcement agencies who provide investigative and other assistance to law enforcement agencies in police use of force and other critical incidents. The CITF works with the local Prosecutor’s Office for review of completed investigations.
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