Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Driver threatens suicide, vehicular homicide

Police disable car in Bellevue with tire spikes

Express Staff Writer

People listening to the police scanner Thursday evening heard dispatch speaking about a what police have called a suicidal driver headed into the Wood River Valley from Gooding County. Dispatch entries indicated that the driver claimed to have anthrax on-board, but the Blaine County Sheriff's Department did not confirm the alleged threat that other valley police said they heard on the scanner.

The department's main concern was an alleged threat made by the driver that he was going to drive into the oncoming lane of traffic.

According to Sgt. Jay Davis, Sheriff's Department spokesman, Joseph Owen Janes, 30, of Gooding, was stopped in Bellevue around 1:15 a.m. Friday after a police pursuit from Gooding County.

Davis said Janes had been in contact with a Gooding County sheriff's deputy via cell phone and allegedly threatened to commit suicide by driving into the oncoming lane of traffic. Gooding dispatchers informed Camas County that Janes was headed to U.S. Highway 20 on state Route 46, which connects with the highway just east of Fairfield. A Camas County deputy then followed Janes, who was driving a dark purple Geo, as he traveled into Blaine County, where local deputies joined the chase. Camas County kept Blaine County abreast of Janes' movements until Blaine County deputies took over south of Bellevue on state Highway 75.

Davis said when Janes entered the 35-miles-per-hour speed limit zone at the south end of Bellevue at 65 miles per hour, police turned on their lights and sirens. He added that when Janes failed to pull over, an officer from the Bellevue Marshal's Office and a Hailey police officer standing by threw spikes in the road, which deflated two tires on Janes' vehicle.

The car came to a stop at the intersection of Poplar and Main streets and Janes was taken into custody for eluding police, a felony charge.

Davis said he had no report about any dangerous substances in Janes' car, but he did say that as Janes was being taken into custody he said "he was proud of how fast police responded to him."

"I don't know what he meant by that comment," Davis said. Davis added that upon taking Janes into custody it was determined that he did not have suicidal tendencies.

Blaine County's Department of Homeland Security head Chuck Turner said he had not heard about the alleged anthrax threat, but he said that if first responders had felt it was credible, he would have been informed and appropriate action would have been taken to protect the public.

Janes was arraigned Monday in 5th District Court in Hailey on a charge of felony eluding and released on a $5,000 bond.

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