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Car crash during police pursuit early Saturday kills 2 in Nampa

A fatal car crash occurred early Saturday morning at the intersection of 16th Avenue North and 3rd Street North in Nampa. Police were pursuing a truck; the truck hit a passenger car, killing both occupants of the car, according to ISP. This photo was taken later Saturday.
A fatal car crash occurred early Saturday morning at the intersection of 16th Avenue North and 3rd Street North in Nampa. Police were pursuing a truck; the truck hit a passenger car, killing both occupants of the car, according to ISP. This photo was taken later Saturday. mkatz@idahostatesman.com

The driver of a truck being pursued by the Nampa Police Department early Saturday morning struck another vehicle, killing two people, according to Idaho State Police.

Almost all details of the chase remain unclear. But shortly after midnight, the pickup struck a car as it passed through the intersection of 16th Avenue North and 3rd Street North, ISP said.

“It was the biggest bang you ever heard,” said Hazel Marez, who lives next to the intersection and was drawn to her window by the approaching sirens. “(The) car rolled ... it was pretty well demolished.”

Both people in the car died at the scene from their injuries, ISP said. Police had not reached their next of kin as of Saturday morning.

The driver of the pickup truck was taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and was later booked into the Canyon County jail on multiple charges, ISP said. The agency said it did not expect to release any further details for now.

Though the crash occurred in the intersection, the two vehicles involved ended up nearly half a block away near a light post, Marez said. The passenger car, which she described as being green and midsize, lost its front bumper, rolled and “was smashed all over.” The truck did not roll but caught fire, she said.

A rear-view mirror and an air freshener still sat on her driveway Saturday morning.

“This is the worst accident we’ve ever seen (here),” Marez said. “And I hope to God it doesn’t happen again.”

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The passenger car and truck involved in Saturday’s crash. Courtesy of Alicia Heien

Former Ada County sheriff and current law enforcement consultant Gary Raney told the Statesman in an email that finding a happy medium between pedestrian safety and criminal pursuit is often difficult, especially if high speeds are reached.

“Almost every agency has tightened their pursuit policy over the past few years, and now most only authorize chases in only the most serious of cases. There are times, though, that justify an officer pursuing a vehicle,” he said. “When that occurs, it is physically stressful for the officer to drive at high speed and mentally stressful to constantly assess the risk to the public, the probability of catching the offender, the chance of the officer or offender crashing.

“A crash like this is one of the worst things that any officer can experience because they will forever wonder what they should have done differently, even if the answer is nothing.”

This is a breaking news report. Check back for updates as they are confirmed.

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