Jacob T. Sundquist, 24, of Boise, died early Tuesday after crashing his Jeep just off of the Boise Connector near Fairview and Chinden.
The deadly crash closed access to the Connector from Chinden Boulevard for several hours early Tuesday.
Police earlier Tuesday had said the man was 23; the reason for the discrepancy wasn’t immediately clear.
An off-duty Garden City officer called in a report of a reckless driver around 3:05 a.m. The officer reported seeing a maroon Jeep Liberty driving fast east on State Street near Glenwood Street. The driver of the Jeep reportedly almost hit the off-duty officer’s vehicle when the man jumped his Jeep over a concrete lane divider while making a left turn. Then the Jeep headed south on Glenwood Street in the wrong lane and ran a red light at Riverside Drive, according to a Garden City Police Department press release.
GCPD officers located the Jeep, driving east on Chinden, around 3:11 a.m. Officers attempted a traffic stop and the Jeep pulled over briefly before fleeing at a high rate of speed, according to the release.
Officers suspected the driver was under the influence of alcohol and gave chase. But they were unable to keep up with the Jeep safely and suspended the pursuit about a minute later. Officers lost sight of the vehicle as it traveled east on the Connector, according to the release.
More officers searched the area for the Jeep, and found it crashed through two Jersey barriers, a light pole, a street sign and a large tree, just off the on-ramp to the Connector from Fairview Avenue. They say Sundquist had been thrown from the vehicle. He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said the driver’s behavior showed signs of impairment, though they’ll have to wait for toxicology tests to confirm if alcohol or drug use played a role in the chase. State court records show Sundquist had been convicted of a variety of driving crimes, including at least two DUIs, as well as at least two drug-related offenses.
Boise Police Department is assisting in the investigation.
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How do officers decide whether they pursue a vehicle?
When it comes to high-speed vehicle chases, officers need to decide within a matter of seconds whether they will pursue a driver, said Garden City Police Department Chief Rick Allen.
The core question officers and their supervisors consider is public safety, Allen said.
Because of that, each chase, or potential pursuit is treated differently. Among other factors officers need to consider traffic, weather, the suspect respective threat to the public and whether there are other occupants in the vehicle.
In Tuesday’s case, officers and the supervisor determined that if they were to continue to pursue the vehicle, that would increase the hazard to the public, the suspect and pursuing officers.
“We can’t go through intersections as fast as suspects do,” Allen said. That’s because officers have to be cognizant of other drivers.
Because pursuing officers were far behind the suspect, they would have to increase speeds, subsequently increasing risk of injury to the public, to keep up with the suspect. Though the suspect was a risk to the public, it was determined that continuing the chase would only aggravate that risk, Allen said.
“What we don’t get to control is what other people do,” he said.
In a statement Allen elaborated:
“Any time a vehicle flees, our officers are trained to weigh the likelihood of a successful apprehension against the concern for public safety. The last thing we want is for innocent people to sustain injuries as a result of suspects fleeing police. In this case, the speeds were too great and the concern for public safety outweighed the likelihood of successful apprehension therefore the supervisor rightfully terminated the pursuit. Based on the driving pattern and his actions, he displayed signs consistent with impairment. We will have to await toxicology results to determine if impairment contributed to the accident. It should also be noted, the driver had three previous DUI’s arrests within the last two years and if arrested for DUI a fourth time, he would have been charged with a Felony,” he said in the statement.