A woman died Tuesday after crashing a stolen vehicle into oncoming traffic along Eagle Road during a pursuit by the Meridian Police Department.
Meridian Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea held a news conference Tuesday night after officers were called to The Village at around 5:30 p.m. for a theft involving the woman and two male accomplices, he said. Basterrechea told reporters, according to a recording of the news conference posted by KTVB, that officers located the woman driving a stolen vehicle and activated their overhead lights. The woman “immediately” drove into oncoming traffic along East Longwing Lane, he said.
Basterrechea said the vehicle was stolen from Ontario, Oregon.
The woman then headed south down Eagle Road, jumping the median and, Basterrechea said, reached speeds of nearly 90 mph. Then, he said, when the vehicle reached the railroad tracks along Eagle Road, the vehicle veered to the left, jumped the median into oncoming traffic and “crashed into several vehicles” in the northbound lanes of Eagle Road.
The woman died at the scene, Basterrechea said, and the occupants of the other vehicles were treated for minor injuries.
“Safety of all of our residents is our top priority at the Meridian Police Department,” Basterrechea said at Tuesday’s news conference. “We understand that pursuits are inherently dangerous in their nature, however, we do not get to dictate the actions of the suspect.”
During the pursuit of the woman, one of the male suspects stole a security vehicle from The Village, Basterrechea said. Meridian police officers located the vehicle on Franklin Road and briefly chased it before ending the pursuit for “safety reasons,” Basterrechea said.
Idaho State Police located the security vehicle on Interstate 84 near the Oregon border and initiated a pursuit with the assistance of the Oregon State Police, Basterrechea said. Neither of the male suspects were apprehended, Meridian police spokesperson Kelsey Winnett told the Idaho Statesman by text.
The Idaho Statesman has reached out to Idaho State Police for additional information.
Anyone with information regarding the male suspects is asked to call the Meridian Police Department’s non-emergency dispatch at 208-377-6790. Police are also asking anyone who might have video of the pursuit or crash to email it to the Ada County Sheriff’s Office at email@example.com.
The crash will be investigated by the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office leading the investigation. Typically the task force investigates police shootings, but they also investigate any incidents where someone is injured, dies or could have been injured or killed because of an officer’s use of force.
There have been 10 police shootings throughout the Treasure Valley this year, with seven of the shootings being fatal. The Meridian Police Department hasn’t been involved in a police shooting since June 2022 when several law enforcement agencies shot and injured 40-year Jake Cottrell.