WENDELL, Idaho — Police have identified the man who died after a high-speed chase on Interstate 84 Tuesday that included police officers shooting at a vehicle, which later crashed at a dairy near Wendell.
David James Bamber Jr., 28, of Pleasanton, California, died as a result of the chase that involved multiple agencies, according to a Thursday statement from Lt. Terry Thueson of the Twin Falls Police Department.
Bamber had a lengthy criminal record in California and had felony warrants for his arrest on charges of burglary and unlawful possession of a firearm, Thueson said. He was also a suspect in two kidnappings, one in Pleasanton and another near Bald Mountain, Nevada.
Pleasanton police had issued an officer safety alert indicating Bamber was armed and dangerous.
Officers involved in the chase knew about these charges at the time, the statement said.
The incident began Tuesday morning when an Ada County deputy attempted to stop a vehicle on I-84, according to Capt. David Neth of the Idaho State Police.
Elmore and Gooding County deputies, along with Idaho State Police officers, found the car on Interstate 84 about 30 minutes later. Officers continued pursuit, often at high speeds, Neth said.
The suspect also drove the wrong way along the highway between Bliss and Wendell, Neth said. The pursuit continued with Gooding County deputies and Idaho State Police north of Wendell, where the suspect’s car became disabled.
The suspect then stole a pickup at gunpoint, and the pursuit continued, Neth said.
At some point, officers fired shots at the suspect.
The pursuit ended when the truck crashed at a dairy near Wendell, where officers found the suspect incapacitated, Neth said.
Twin Falls Police are leading the Critical Incident Task Force investigation into the incident.
When the investigation is complete, the matter will be submitted to the Gooding County Prosecutor for review, the statement said.
BLISS — The Shoshone police chief’s car was destroyed and multiple police officers were hit by debris during a high-speed chase on Interstate 84 Wednesday evening.
Jesus Antonio Reyes has been charged with felony eluding, aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated battery on a police officer, and possession of a stolen vehicle.
The incident began in Hollister shortly before 5 p.m. when Twin Falls County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report that a black Honda Civic had left a gas station without paying, Idaho State Police Lt. Robert Rausch said.
Deputies attempted a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 93 near milepost 45, but the suspect fled, driving into Twin Falls.
The car was again sighted about 10 minutes later northbound on U.S. 93 near milepost 50, Rausch said.
A Jerome City police officer tried to stop the car, but the driver fled west on I-84.
State police attempted to place spike strips near milepost 173, but the driver swerved to avoid the spikes and continued west, Rausch reported.
The pursuit continued, with speeds reaching more than 120 mph, a post on the Shoshone Police Department’s Facebook page said.
Shoshone officers were returning from training in Hagerman and their two cars joined the pursuit, while two other police cars blocked on-ramps near Bliss to stop traffic from accessing the roadway.
Shoshone Police Chief Austin Smith’s car blocked the right lane of travel while officers placed spike strips in the road. The suspect veered into the median, lost control and hit Smith’s patrol car.
Smith was not in the car at the time.
The police chief’s car hit one officer and debris hit others. Other than some bumps and bruises, the officers are OK, Smith said.
The suspect’s car came to a stop about a quarter-mile down the highway, and Reyes was taken into custody.
Reyes was taken to North Canyon Medical Center in Gooding before being transferred to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise, for further treatment, Rausch said.
JEROME — Magic Valley native EllieMae Millenkamp was eliminated during the Battle Round on NBC’s “The Voice.”
On Oct. 15, Millenkamp battled Cali Wilson, a fellow member of Team Blake. The two sang Kelsea Ballerina’s “Miss Me More.” The duet was featured in a brief montage that ended with celebrity coach Blake Shelton choosing Wilson as the winner.
“Cali has plenty of attitude and personality. You’re a kickboxer. It’s becoming a part of who you are on stage,” Shelton said. “The winner of this battle is Cali.”
Millenkamp was born and raised in Jerome and played music at her local church. While attending college in Iowa, her friend convinced her to start recording music. She played at small coffee shops and in her church in Iowa.
Less than a year later, she was featured on “The Voice.”
“The Voice” reached out to Millenkamp while she was performing throughout Iowa, she said in a previous interview with the Times-News. Millenkamp has been a longtime fan of the show but never expected to be on it.
TWIN FALLS — The changes in classifications for some of Idaho’s high school sports teams will make the Magic Valley’s athletic landscape look slightly different next year.
For one school, the idea of change is familiar territory, while others will be in new surroundings for the first time.
The Idaho High School Activities Association finalized its classifications for the 2020-22 cycle in September.
Valley is moving to Class 2A from 1A Division I due to higher enrollment.
Murtaugh and Lighthouse Christian will bump up to 1A Division I from Division II. The association lowered the dividing line between the 1A Divisions from 100 students to 85, and those schools moved as a result. Castleford also met the new standard for Division I, but the school won a petition with the association to remain in Division II.
Valley has experienced this sort of class change recently. The Vikings dropped from 2A to 1A Division I after the 2013-14 school year.
One of the most challenging differences between those two classes is that the lower one plays eight-man football while the higher one plays the traditional 11 player game.
Valley athletic director Brian Hardy said there were positives to the classification change six years ago, and he and the school are taking the alteration in stride again this time around.
“I know for a lot of people, it’s a tough transition,” Hardy said. “For us, we were kind of struggling at the 2A level, and I think a lot of people welcomed the opportunity and welcomed the conference we were going to be in. It was a lot of good coaches and a lot of good people and athletic directors to work with.”
The Vikings have found success since joining the Snake River Conference, including four playoff appearances and a runner-up and state championship finish.
Hardy said his football coaching staff handled the change well last time, and he expects that they will again next season.
“We’re adding three more people onto the field, but the hardest thing is that we’re going to be the small fish in the big pond,” he said. “We’ve also had our opportunity to have the other side of that.”
But while the class and conference change will switch things up on the football field, the rest of Valley’s sports will not be affected in the same way. The Vikings will still be able to play its former conference foes, Glenns Ferry, Oakley, Raft River and Shoshone in regular-season games even though they will not be conference matchups. There will just be new opponents for conference games and district and state tournaments.
“We’re still going to see those same faces and walk into those gyms,” Hardy said. “It will just be a non-conference game instead of a conference game.”
Where one team is leaving the Snake River Conference, two more will take its place. Lighthouse Christian and Murtaugh will enter the league next year.
Football scheduling will look different for the two former members of the Sawtooth Conference. The Snake River Conference, which includes Oakley, Raft River and Glenns Ferry (Lost Rivers, Grace and Challis are in the conference in football only, and Shoshone is currently not in for varsity football), has its member teams play four conference opponents and four non-conference ones.
Since they are coming from a league that had its teams play seven conference games and one non-conference game, the former Division I teams face the challenge of having to find four new non-league teams to form half of their new schedule.
Lighthouse Christian has perennially fielded competitive sports teams at the Division II level. For example, the Lions’ boys basketball team won the state title last year, the football team was runner-up, and the volleyball team qualified for the state tournament.
Tony Standlee, the boys basketball coach, said there are good things about moving to the Snake River Conference in a higher class, including a smaller, tightly-knit conference.
“I’ve enjoyed our conference, but it’s a big one,” Standlee said.
One aspect the coach is looking forward to is having every regular-season conference game count toward the standings. If a Sawtooth team plays a conference opponent more than once in a season, only one game is counted, and it’s predetermined. That’s not the case in the Snake River Conference.
“It’s kind of a new aspect, and I like it,” Standlee said. “We’ve talked about it before, like why are we playing two games if they don’t count? Now we’re saying it’s going to count, so when we play the Oakleys and the Raft Rivers, we play them home and away and then we play them in districts and it’s going to be competitive.”
Another important result of the classifications finalizing was Canyon Ridge remaining in Class 4A. The Riverhawks’ enrollment of 1,285 students put them just five over the cutoff for 5A, but they won a petition approved by the class’ superintendents to remain in 4A.
The school was one of three, including Nampa and Caldwell, that petitioned to stay in 4A based on factors like participation rates, athletic success, and socioeconomic aspects.
For the smaller schools, moving up to a higher competition level can be a daunting task. Lighthouse’s middle school teams already play several of the Division I teams they will face in coming years, so they have some familiarity with their future opponents.
As for the mindset the Lions’ teams will take against its new competition, Standlee said that all of the school’s programs teach that the opponent doesn’t matter and the effort should still be the same.
“I like to think that we can compete, but until you get there, you never know,” he said.
Nicholas Mattison, 37, faces a charge of hunting or having firearms in a public park for the August incident. He also faces additional charges of possession of a controlled substance and resisting or obstructing officers from an incident later that month.
Mattison appeared before Magistrate Judge Benjamin Harmer on Oct. 18 at the Twin Falls County Judicial Annex for an arraignment. He represented himself during the hearing.
As he read through the documents presented by the court, Mattison continually made comments and asked questions.
“I need to know you understand your rights,” Harmer said from the bench. He offered to appoint a psychologist or psychiatrist to assist Mattison.
“I’m definitely doing my best here, my friend,” Mattison responded.
Mattison told Harmer he had spent two hours in the courthouse law library preparing for the hearing. When asked if his name was correct on the citations he’d been issued, Mattison talked about not knowing what his legal name is. He finally produced his birth certificate and other documents, allowing City Attorney Shayne Nope to inspect them. Mattison then argued about the address on the citations not being accurate.