CASCADE, Idaho – A Washington man with a warrant out for his arrest is now in the Valley County Jail after fleeing from deputies in a stolen car, nearly causing a head-on collision, and then hiding in the woods overnight near Smiths Ferry.
Sergeant Kevein Copperi with the Valley County Sheriff's Office says 32-year-old Nicholas Wood from Yakima, Washington was behind the Christmas Eve mayhem. He says it's a Christmas miracle that no one was hurt during the chase.
According to reports, Wood had a warrant out for his arrest in Washington for failing to report to his parole officer in Yakima in conjunction with an assault charge.
Copperi says Wood was driving a stolen vehicle out of Lewiston, Idaho on Tuesday afternoon when he passed a Valley County sheriff's deputy who activated his emergency lights to respond to a nearby accident.
"As he turned on his lights to alert traffic that there was a scene ahead, this gentleman evidently was scared of the lights or knew there was trouble coming, and he got into the opposing lane and almost caused a head on crash," said Copperi.
Woods' panicked action led to a high-speed chase that lasted for about two-and-a-half miles on icy, dangerous roads, according to deputies.
Copperi says during the chase, Wood caused damage to a guard rail on State Highway 55. He also crashed into a sign before abandoning his car and running into the nearby forested mountains.
Deputies called off the resulting search after about an hour and a half due to darkness.
"Being that we already had a good idea of who he was, I was not willing to jeopardize any ... lives for somebody who we already knew where they were," said Copperi.
Copperi says a KTVB viewer saw the story reported on Christmas Eve, and then called police on Christmas morning after seeing Wood jump into the back of a truck on a nearby roadway.
Authorities arrested Wood a short time later without incident.
The Valley County Sheriff's Office applauds the cooperation it took to make the arrest, saying many parties worked together to get Wood off the street.
Wood was in court Thursday where he faced several charges, including possession of stolen property, eluding, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.