Man intentionally tried to hit Caldwell drivers head-on during pursuit, police say

Gary Strawser
Gary Strawser

Police expect 25-year-old Gary Strawser of Greenleaf to be charged with drug possession, eluding an officer and aggravated assault on an officer, all felonies, after a convoluted Sunday afternoon pursuit. The chase zigzagged between Caldwell and Nampa on several routes before ending with a crash into a canal, a short foot pursuit and police deploying a stun gun, according to a news release from the Caldwell Police Department.

Strawser intentionally tried to hit multiple oncoming drivers on roads including South 21st Avenue and Caldwell Boulevard, police say. Caldwell police ask that if you saw the pursuit or were almost hit, you call 208-454-7531 to provide a statement.

The chain of events began about 2 p.m. near the intersection of 10th Avenue and Freeport Street, when a CPD officer spotted a green van with fictitious license plates and tried to pull it over, police said. The driver — later determined to be Strawser — sped away, sparking a brief chase. The officer canceled the neighborhood pursuit because of “the driver’s high rate of speed and blatant disregard for other motorists,” police said in the release.

When a second officer located the van a few minutes later near 21st and Cleveland Boulevard, the driver reportedly drove the wrong way on Blaine toward oncoming traffic and again refused to pull over for police. The van headed down I-84 to Nampa, then Strawser turned around in the median and returned to Exit 29 in Caldwell, with officers in pursuit.

Strawser then allegedly drove toward oncoming traffic, on purpose, as he headed south on 21st Avenue, then east on Caldwell Boulevard toward Nampa, then west again toward Caldwell on Karcher Road.

The van turned into a subdivision near 10th Avenue and Ustick Road in Caldwell, and CPD officers placed spike strips at exit points to prevent the driver from re-entering traffic. At some point, Strawser allegedly tried to drive into an officer deploying the strips, prompting the assault charge.

The van crashed when Strawser attempted to cross a small canal between the subdivision and a local school, and he then fled on foot, police said.

An officer chased Strawser and subdued him with a stun gun, police said. Strawser received medical treatment before he was taken to the Canyon County jail. He had no visible injuries, CPD Lt. Joey Hoadley said.

Suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found in the van. In addition to the three felonies, Strawser faces expected misdemeanor charges of paraphernalia possession and driving without privileges, as well as charges from three outstanding warrants for grand theft in Ada and Canyon counties and driving without privileges in Gooding County.

His charges could not yet be confirmed in online court records Monday morning.