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Woman faces charges after allegedly hitting police officer with her car

Crime Watch

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Video shows the moments after a woman allegedly hit a police officer directing traffic in Idaho Falls. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — Prosecutors have now charged an Idaho Falls woman for hitting a police officer with her car.

On the evening of Jan. 16, a gas leak of “explosive levels” led officials to close part of Broadway Street. An Idaho Falls police officer began directing traffic at the intersection of Saturn Avenue and Broadway when 43-year-old Jessica Ann Morris pulled up in a Jeep Cherokee. She ultimately hit the officer and was then removed out of the car at gunpoint, court documents allege.

Morris is charged with felony assault and battery on a police officer. A charge, if convicted, is punishable by up to five years in prison.

An affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com outlines the moments that led up to Morris being placed into handcuffs and into the back of a patrol car.

With the traffic lights still functioning but the road closed, the officer directed traffic on Broadway to turn onto Saturn Avenue. Morris driving westbound attempted to drive the Jeep through cones set up to close lanes. At this moment, the officer was directing eastbound traffic to turn left onto Saturn.

The officer then turned towards Morris and asked her what she was doing, the officer wrote in his report. Morris then started yelling the light was Green and she wanted to keep driving west on Broadway. The officer then tried to tell Morris she could not drive that way and to turn left.

“F— you,” Morris yelled according to court documents. “I’m leaving. I’m going now.”

Morris then hit the gas, and hit the officer in the thigh and hip, making him bend slightly over the hood of the Jeep. In his report, the officer says that prompted him to activate his body-worn camera.

EastIdahoNews.com then captured the moments after when the officer drew his gun and demanded Morris step out of the Jeep. She is seen opening her door, turning around and placing her hands on her head as ordered by police.

The officer then holstered his gun, moves towards Morris, and placed her into handcuffs. He then walked her over to the back of his police car.

“You tried to run me over,” the officer says to Morris. “That’s not excusable.”

The woman continually tries to apologize to the officer, who then repeats what happened and says she can not do that.

“I’m sorry, I’m terrified,” Morris responds. “I have mental disabilities … I’m deaf. I’m sorry.”

The officer said she is not deaf and reminds her that he told her to turn left, which she refused to obey.

“I didn’t hear you say turn left,” Morris is heard saying.

She is then placed into the back of the officer’s car where she reportedly began having a panic attack. Idaho Falls firefighters, who were just down the road, rushed over to check her out. The officer removed the handcuffs in an attempt to defuse the situation.

During the incident, a passenger in Morris’ Jeep handed the officer a phone with Morris’ husband on the line. The officer explained the situation and why she is detained.

“I hope your body cams are working cause I’m suing you guys,” the husband said, according to court documents.

Firefighters help Jessica Morris after she reportedly has a panic attack in the back of a patrol car. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

Police reports indicate Morris was then issued a misdemeanor citation for failure to obey a traffic direction and released.

The officer was not seriously injured in the incident.

On June 4, the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed the case and filed the felony charge. A summons was issued for her to appear in court on June 19 and she was not arrested.

A preliminary hearing for Morris is scheduled for July 15 at the Bonneville County Courthouse.

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