Adams County Deputy Brian S. Wood: Sued over traffic stop, he left McCall police job

A traffic stop that went wrong apparently led McCall police to part ways with Brian S. Wood four years ago and prompted the elderly driver to sue the city, resulting in a settlement.

Wood, 31, is one of the two Adams County sheriff’s deputies involved in the fatal Nov. 1 shooting of Council-area rancher Jack Yantis on a highway where a car crashed into one of Yantis’s bulls. The deputies’ identities became public Monday.

Wood has worked for two Idaho law-enforcement agencies in the past five years, according to public records obtained from Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy.

He joined the McCall Police Department as a patrol officer on Feb. 1, 2010. He left the department almost two years later on Nov. 30, 2011, one week after a 78-year-old man sued Wood and the department, alleging that he used excessive force after stopping the man for speeding.

According to court records and an incident report:

On the morning of July 6, 2011, Wood pulled over Rodney Whaley because he was driving 35 mph in a 25 mph zone.

Whaley wore two hearing aids, suffered from severe arthritis and had undergone two heart surgeries. His chest had been stapled closed, and his doctor told him to be careful in his activities. He was driving a car with an Idaho license plate for people with disabilities.

Whaley said that after Wood turned on his police car’s flashing lights, Whaley pulled over and got out of his car. Wood told him to get back into it. Whaley said he wanted to know what he had done. Wood told Whaley several times to get in the car or he would arrest him.

Whaley said Wood did not give him time to get back in his car before he seized him by the arms and “slammed” him onto the police car’s hood. Whaley said that during the encounter he had trouble breathing, lost consciousness and fell to the gravel.

A video camera in Wood’s patrol car was not pointed at the two men but did capture audio, in which Whaley demands that Wood not touch him, Wood insists that Whaley put his hands behind his back, and Whaley says Wood is hurting him.

Whaley was taken to McCall Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for abrasions. When he was released later that day, Wood took him to the Valley County Jail, where Whaley was charged with resisting and obstructing officers.

Whaley posted a bond and left the jail. The next day, his daughter took him to a Lewiston hospital for further treatment of injuries on his hands and four bruised ribs. Whaley returned to the McCall hospital July 25 and July 28 to be treated for breathing difficulties, high blood pressure, staph infection and pneumonia.

A judge dismissed the obstruction charge against Whaley. Whaley sued Wood and McCall in federal court in Boise in November 2011, alleging excessive force and other civil rights violations. The case was settled in April 2012. Court documents do not contain details of the settlement, which are typically confidential.

According to POST, McCall police terminated Wood’s employment on Nov. 30, 2011. The McCall city clerk would not tell the Statesman whether Wood’s departure was involuntary, citing personnel privacy.

Nineteen months later, on June 27, 2013, Wood joined the Sheriff’s Office in neighboring Adams County as a part-time marine deputy. He became a full-time deputy that Sept. 20.

According to Idaho’s court records repository, Wood pleaded guilty in 2011 to two violations of Idaho Fish and Game regulations: unlawfully possessing wildlife and having no game-hunting tag. He paid $715 in fines and received a withheld judgment in 2013, which means he satisfied the terms of his sentence and no conviction was entered into his record.

Wood had four traffic infractions between 2001 and 2005, including two speeding tickets, a lack of registration and reckless driving, which was reduced to failure to obey highway lane markings.

He is married.

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell