70-year-old Eagle woman charged with vehicular manslaughter for fatal car vs. bike crash last summer

A 70-year-old motorist is charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in connection with fatal car vs. bicycle crash that occurred near the Iron Eagle Drive/Edgewood Lane intersection on Aug. 13.

Mary A. Curtis is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Dec. 19 in 4th District Magistrate Court. The crime of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Cyclist Joann Baker, who was wearing a helmet when she was hit, was pronounced dead about three hours after the crash occurred.

Officers began their investigation just before 9 a.m. on Aug. 13 when they got a report that a passenger car going southbound on Edgewood Lane collided with a bicyclist, who was on Edgewood near the crosswalk at the Iron Eagle Drive intersection.

Witnesses say the 71-year-old Baker was crossing Edgewood on her bike, going east-to-west, when she was hit by Curtis’s car.

The force of the impact resulted in immediate and serious injury to Baker. Paramedics arrived moments later and transported her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead just before noon.

Officials with the Ada County Coroner’s Office listed Baker’s cause of death as blunt force trauma and the manner of death as accidental.

Curtis told investigators she was looking at a school bus stopped on Iron Eagle Drive at the stop sign and didn’t see Baker crossing Edgewood Lane until it was too late.

Prosecutors determined that while Curtis was driving her car “in a inattentive, careless, or imprudent manner” at the time of the crash, she did so “without gross negligence and without malice,” which is why she is charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter instead of a felony, according to court records.

Prosecutors charged Curtis in early November.


Sexual assault in Southwest Ada County

Ada County Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a sexual assault that happened early this morning in Southwest Ada County.

A little before 6:30 a.m. Friday, a woman running on West Brogan Drive between South Seabreeze Way and South Elinor Rose Avenue was attacked from behind by a man. The man grabbed the woman around the neck and she immediately began kicking and fighting to get away from him. The woman fell to the ground in the street where the man choked her until she lost consciousness.

When the woman regained consciousness, the man was holding her down on the ground. Evidence suggests the man sexually assaulted the runner while she was unconscious. Soon after the woman woke up, the man ran east from West Brogan Street toward Seabreeze. A car driving east on Brogan near Elinor Rose saw the woman in the road and stopped to help her and call 911. Ada County Sheriff’s deputies and Ada County paramedics responded and transported the woman to the hospital.

The woman has significant injuries to her neck but they are not believed to be life-threatening.

Detectives are actively searching for the man responsible for the sexual assault. He approached the runner from behind, so she did not see his face. He is believed to have been wearing medium gray sweatpants and sweatshirt with a dark colored beanie or hood over his head. The man’s age, ethnicity, hair and skin color are not known.

“This was a shockingly brazen assault. We are working to find the man responsible as quickly as possible. I know this is scary. Safety is our first priority. We have all of our resources working this investigation and will have extra patrols in the area. Please help us by being aware of your surroundings. Look out for anyone or anything suspicious, and report unusual activity as soon as possible. Together, we can ensure you stay safe and secure in the places you live, work, and play,” said Sheriff Steve Bartlett

Anyone with information about this assault, the man or anything that seemed unusual or suspicious in this area today or in recent weeks is urged to call Detective Shellie Strolberg at 208.577.3788.

Do you recognize this theft suspect –  and his white truck?

Detectives are trying to find a man who stole two chainsaws, a portable generator, and an air compressor from a Foothills area home earlier this month.

These pictures show the man, and the truck he was driving, as he was taking the equipment from a home in the 7900 block of Pierce Park Lane around 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 4.

Witnesses say the man parked his truck on the hillside and climbed up, coming back down moments later with the chainsaws and other equipment, and then drove away.

The man who stole the equipment had a beard and was wearing a red jacket.

He was driving a late-1980s era Chevy or GMC pickup truck, with a toolbox in the bed. The truck did not appear to have a regular Idaho license plates, but it may have had a speciality plate or one from another state.

(We know the photo quality isn’t the best, but we are hoping someone recognizes the man and his truck).

Anyone with information should call (208) 577-3597 or send an email to cau@adacounty.id.gov

48-year-old Oregon man charged with kidnapping Eagle teenager

A 48-year-old man is charged with felony kidnapping and lewd conduct after sheriff’s deputies found a teenage girl from Eagle inside his Oregon house late last month.

Andy Alan Vogt is being held in the Ada County Jail on a $1 million bond. Ada County Sheriff’s deputies picked up Vogt from the Grant County Jail and brought him back to Boise late Wednesday night.

Vogt has been in custody since Oct. 29, shortly after Grant County Sheriff’s deputies, acting on a tip from Eagle Police, went to Vogt’s Mount Vernon home and found the teenage girl there, who had been reported missing as a runaway three days before.

Evidence indicates the girl, who is under the age of 16, met Vogt through the online “MeetMe” app earlier this fall. He then drove to Eagle in late October, where he met the girl and had illegal sexual contact with her.

The girl was last seen by her family on the evening of Oct. 26. They reported her missing early the next day. Evidence indicates Vogt forced the girl to leave Eagle with him on Oct. 26.

The criminal complaint filed against Vogt says he did that for the purpose of “committing any lewd and lascivious act upon any child under the age of 16.”

Eagle Police and Ada County Sheriff’s detectives working on the case were able to track the girl to Mount Vernon, where they contacted Grant County deputies and asked for their help. A short time later, deputies found the girl and arrested Vogt, who initially told investigators the girl was 19 years old.

Vogt is set to make his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon. The crimes of kidnapping and lewd conduct are both punishable by up to life in prison.

Recognize this Toyota pickup? It was last seen driving away from a construction burglary in Eagle

Eagle Police are trying to find the owner of this Toyota Tacoma pickup, which was seen driving away from a late-night construction site burglary in Eagle last month.

white Tacoma

There’s been quite a bit of talk lately about construction site burglaries all over the Treasure Valley. Home construction continues to be white-hot – especially in the western Ada County – and that means more opportunities for criminals.

We’ve had 23 reports of construction site burglaries in Eagle since Jan. 1 — including one that occurred around midnight on Oct. 12. Someone stole over $4,700 worth of tools and materials by breaking into a locked trailer near a house under construction in the 1300 block of Longhorn Street, which is in the Floating Feather Road/West Palmer Lane neighborhood.

A nearby surveillance camera picked up this Toyota Tacoma, pulling a trailer, leaving the home around the same time the burglary occurred.

White truck 2

(We know the photo quality isn’t the best, but we’re hoping someone will recognize the truck regardless).

The theft wasn’t reported to Eagle Police until Oct. 15, when crews returned to work and found all their tools missing.

It wasn’t the first burglary reported from that neighborhood this year, either. We would really like to find whoever was driving that truck and ask them why they were there that night – and if they have any info about other similar burglaries in the area.

Anyone with information should call (208) 577-3851 or send an email to cau@adacounty.id.gov

For the 23 construction site burglary cases in Eagle this year, the total value of materials and tools stolen is estimated at just over $49,000.

We are always reminding people the best thing they can do to avoid being victims of crime is to lock their stuff up – and that advice certainly applies to construction contractors.

Our investigators continue to meet with local builders to encourage them to securely lock all construction sites when they are done for the day.

Equipment and supply “depots” can be secured with temporary fencing.

Removing trailers from work sites at the end of the night might be an inconvenience but is a great way to prevent theft.

Arranging supply deliveries just before installation is an effective theft deterrent. Idle and unsecured construction sites, with equipment in plain view, can attract the wrong kind of attention.


Detectives are investigating house rental scams across the Treasure Valley

Finding an affordable place to rent in the Treasure Valley these days can be pretty difficult. So if you find a really good rental deal on a house or apartment while searching online, be sure to make sure it’s legit before giving anyone a cent of your money.

We’ve had several reports of rental scams over the past few months where people go on to online classified sites like Craigslist, find an ad for a house to rent, send the “owner” a payment, and then find out when they try to move in that the whole thing is a scam.

The biggest red flag is when whoever wants to rent you a house asks you to wire them money. As the Federal Trade Commission says, there is never a good reason to wire money to pay a security deposit, application fee, or first month’s rent.

For instance, in early October we got a call from a man who narrowly avoided losing over $1,000 when he tried to rent a home in the Maple Grove/Lake Hazel roads neighborhood. He responded to an ad on Craigslist for the home, and began texting with someone claiming to be the owner.

He filled out what turned out to be a bogus application online – one that asked for personal info — and was “approved” to rent.

The “owner” then texted him the code to a key lock box at the home so he could take a tour. The code worked, so he checked it out inside. That’s when the “owner” told him to go to a nearby store and wire her $2,200 to cover first month rent and security deposit.

A clerk at the store told the man it sounded like a scam. So he stopped the transfer and called us.

That was just one of three similar scams for homes in the same neighborhood this fall. In one of the other cases, the fake owner convinced the victims to wire her over $1,000 before they could sign a lease.

Detectives are working to figure out how the scammers are able to get the correct combinations to unlock the key boxes of homes for sale, and are urging area realtors to be extra careful giving that info out.

Anyone with information should send an email to cau@adacounty.id.gov or call (208) 577-3733.

So remember, if you are looking to rent a home, never pay a security deposit or first month’s rent before you sign the lease.

Be very wary if you never actually meet the person who is trying to rent a house to you, or they claim to be out of the country.

For more info and tips on how to avoid being scammed, check out this Federal Trade Commission tip sheet



ITD is allowing people to renew their Driver’s License/State ID by mail through December

We know that residents of Ada County who need to get or renew their Driver’s License or State ID have had to endure long lines and wait times at our Benjamin Lane office since late summer.

It’s been very frustrating for our staff as well. There is nothing we’d like better than to get our Driver’s License customers in and out in a reasonable amount of time.

So we are thrilled that the Idaho Transportation Department is going to allow people who need to renew their Driver’s License or State ID over the next few months to do so by mail.

So that means if your license or ID is set to expire in November or December, or if you had to get an extension of your credentials through Oct. 31 because you hadn’t been able to renew, you can now do that by mail and avoid the lines.

The ITD has been exploring solutions to provide relief to Idahoans who need to get or renew a license or ID – and the county sheriff’s offices that provides the service — since computer system issues forced offices to close for several days in August.

Since then, the wait times have been significant. We’ve had a backlog of customers, and the computer system has been slower — a combination that has resulted in wait times that can exceed an hour or more.

So being able to renew your driver’s license by mail is excellent news for people who want to avoid lines.

The ITD plan is to allow the mail-in renewals through the end of December.

You should know what you can’t get the Star Card, Idaho’s Real ID, with the mail-in renewal. People who want a Star Card must present the documents in person at the Benjamin Lane office to meet federal requirements.

Also, people who need to renew their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can’t do it by mail. You have to renew in person at the Benjamin Lane office.

The ITD estimates it will be able to process the mail-in renewals in 12-to-14 business days once they arrive.

There are some other restrictions to the mail-in option you should know about, like how you can only get a four-year renewal; your driving credential must be valid; you must be between the ages of 18-and-69; and you haven’t changed your name.

If you want a new photo, you have to renew in person.

The ITD will send a letter to everyone whose license expires in November and December, letting them know about the mail-in option. Go here to print out a copy of the letter to apply for the mail-in option.

You should also know that you can schedule an appointment  time for the Benjamin Lane office online. Please be aware that appointments are mostly booked through mid-December.

We realize the long lines at our Driver’s License Office have been a problem for our citizens, and we hope the mail-in option will release some of the pressure.

For more info from the ITD, check out https://itd.idaho.gov/news/dmv-to-offer-mail-in-renewals-for-drivers-licenses-that-expire-in-november-and-december/


The CITF investigation into fatal home invasion/house fire case from last fall is finished

A prosecutor has determined two Ada County Sheriff’s deputies who shot at a man who broke into a stranger’s house last fall and set it on fire did not break any laws – and our internal investigation determined deputies Chris Matkin and Sage Hickam did not violate any ACSO policies.

Our investigators did find that Matkin, Hickam, and the all the other deputies involved in the violent confrontation with Pavel Florea the night of Sept. 27, 2017 showed the professionalism and courage of ACSO employees at their best, as they put themselves in significant danger in an attempt to save the people inside the burning home.

Twins Falls Prosecutor Grant Loebs reviewed the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force (CITF) report and found that the 35-year-old Florea committed numerous crimes —including burglary and aggravated assault — when he broke into a home in the 1500 block of Amity Road that night, pointed a shotgun at the deputies who responded to a 911 call for help from the homeowner, and then lit the house on fire with three other people inside.

Only one person inside the house survived. Three adults died as a result of that fire, including Florea.

The CITF, led by Boise Police, investigated the case for several months and are able to shed some light on the mystery of why Florea broke into the home of someone he had no connection with.

Investigators developed evidence Florea was a heavy methamphetamine user who got into disputes with several different people in the days and weeks leading up to the incident.

An autopsy revealed an extremely high level of meth in Florea’s system at the time of his death.

The investigation did not uncover a direct link between Florea and the people who lived at the Amity Road home but detectives did establish two theories — either that Florea may have seen a Facebook ad for a moving sale at the home and then tried to break in and steal items from inside, or mistook the house on the corner of Amity and Linder roads for a nearby home that had a history of drug activity.

It remains unclear why Florea pointed a shotgun at deputies Matkin and Hickam and threatened to kill them, if he shot at the deputies, or why he set the house on fire after deputies shot at him.

Investigators recovered the shotgun Florea was holding, but were not able to determine if had been fired that night. They did find evidence Florea stole it from an acquaintance a short time before Sept. 27.

Autopsy reports show that Florea died from acute carbon monoxide poisoning. His remains were badly damaged by the fire, but Ada County Coroner’s officials did find what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his foot, indicating our deputies likely hit Florea with at least one of the six rounds they fired that night.

Coroner’s officials ruled the manner of Florea’s death was a suicide. The fire reduced most of the home to ashes that night. Investigators determined some kind of accelerant, like gas, was used to start the fire. All evidence points to Florea starting the fire.

Hickam and Matkin were not injured in the incident. Deputy Hickam has been with the ACSO for 11 years. Deputy Matkin has been with the agency for 5 years.

The incident began around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 27 when a resident called 911 to report a prowler. That caller said she heard pounding at the door and could hear someone trying to break in, but didn’t know who it was.

Hickam and Matkin arrived moments later and found the man, holding a long gun, coming out of the home.

A verbal confrontation ensued. Deputies told the man to put the gun down but he refused. A short time later, deputies fired at the man.

He went back inside the home, said he was shot, and refused to come back out.

Deputies were in contact with the woman who called 911, who told them there were two other people in the house and none of them knew who the armed man was or why he broke in.

By 10:45 p.m., the house was on fire.

More deputies had arrived by that time. They broke out windows and tried to direct the residents out of the home.

Two of the adults – a man and a woman – inside were able to get out. The third, an elderly woman, was not.

Paramedics treated the two residents at the scene and transported them to the hospital.

One of the residents was flown to the Salt Lake City Burn Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Deputies who set up a perimeter around the home did not see any evidence Florea had been able to get out of the burning house. His remains were later found inside near where he was last seen.

Meridian and Kuna fire crews kept the blaze from spreading, but the home was a total loss.

The case was investigated by the CITF, which does an independent investigation of all uses of lethal force by law enforcement in Ada County.

For more information, check out the  complete CITF report.

Ada County Sheriff Steve Bartlett wants to thank Boise and Meridian Police; the Ada County Coroner’s Office; Meridian and Kuna fire departments; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for all their help on such a complex and demanding case.

14 gang members charged with aggravated assault in connection with January prison brawl

Several members of the Sureno gang are charged with felony counts of aggravated assault and rioting in connection with a prison brawl earlier this year where they attacked members of the rival Norteno gang.

All gang members were prisoners at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution on Jan. 4 when a group of 12 Surenos and two members of a white pride gang began a sudden and coordinated attack against five Nortenos.

The 14 men charged in the case are accused of using their fists, legs and feet to attack the other inmates. In at least one circumstance, one of the attackers hit a victim with a microwave oven.

All five victims were transported to local hospitals for treatment of significant but non life-threatening injuries.

No IDOC employees were injured during the incident.

Ada County Sheriff’s Office investigators began working on the case that same day. They developed evidence indicating the attack was planned.

Detectives sent their findings to the Ad County Prosecutor’s Office, who filed criminal complaints against the Sureno gang members in early September.

The prisoners charged in connection with the attack are: Jacob Charles Miller, Jose Antonio Garcia Jr., Eduardo DeLeon, Michael Craig Smith, Gabriel Gomez-Luna, Luis Manuel Palomares Jr., Anthony Reed Dailey-Schmidt, Anthony M. Gonzales, Wyatt Michael Landon, Miguell Antonio Prieto, Christopher James Smith, Manuel Rodriguez, Steven Jacob Flora, and Tate Brogan France.

All 14 men were in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing, which was held in a courtroom at Idaho’s Maximum Security Prison south of Boise.

The hearing has been delayed until Nov. 6 to give the different defense attorneys more time to work on their cases.

A trial date for all 14 men will be likely set during their next court hearing.

Boise man charged with drug delivery after getting Oxycodone pills in the mail

Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a 26-year-old Boise man just minutes after he got a delivery of Oxycodone pills in the mail Thursday.

Jacob R. Lassoff is charged with a felony count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Detectives began the investigation in August and later developed evidence that Lassoff was getting Oxycodone sent to him by the mail from outside the United States.

Our detectives worked with U.S. Postal Inspectors on the case and intercepted a package, filled with 41 Oxycodone tablets, that was sent to Lassoff in Boise.

Detectives arrested Lassoff at a Boise-area post office Thursday afternoon after he picked up the package.

Investigators also found blank prescription forms which appear to be stolen from a Boise-area medical provider in his car.

Detectives interviewed Lassoff and then booked him into the Ada County Jail, where he was being held on a $25,000 bond on Friday afternoon.

The crime of possession with intent to deliver a narcotic like oxycodone is punishable by up to life in prison.