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Court documents detail how driver jumped into canal to escape police

Crime Watch

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Marco Leal | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — Newly released court documents outline the moments before a man jumped into a canal to escape police Sunday.

Marco Leal, 23, is charged with felony burglary, grand theft, eluding, leaving the scene of an injury accident and two felony counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.

The incident unfolded around 4:30 p.m. when a man called 911, saying he witnessed Leal stealing a rifle out of his car near Skyline Drive, and then driving away in a grey Dodge Stratus, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.

Officers in the area spotted the car near Broadway Street and Colorado Avenue.

As police turned on their lights and sirens, the car took off driving east on Broadway. When the vehicle reached the intersection of Utah Avenue, the car ran a red light, colliding with a white Toyota Tundra. Police reports show the crash sent the Dodge into a parking lot.
The two people in the Tundra received minor injuries that were treated at the scene by paramedics.

RELATED: Fleeing driver arrested for six felonies after jumping into canal to escape police

As officers approached the car, LeaL crawled out of the driver’s side window and ran to the irrigation canal on Lindsey Boulevard. He began floating down the canal towards Riverwalk Drive, police say.

More officers arrived to search for Leal and police spotted him lying down near the side of a bridge along the canal just south of Smitty’s Pancake & Steak House, according to court documents.

Beliving that Leal was the man that had just stolen the rifle, officers drew their guns and commanded Leal to place his arms behind his back. As they determined Leal to not be a threat, officers switched to tasers and put him into handcuffs.

A search of the Stratus uncovered the stolen rifle and a loaded 9mm handgun with a round in the chamber.

Leal was bleeding from his right ear, prompting police to take him to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, medical staff bandaged him up and performed X-rays to check for internal injuries.

After being medically cleared, Leal was taken to the Bonneville County Jail where he was booked. In addition to the new charges, the Idaho Falls Police Department says Leal was also served a warrant for a felony probation violation and an IFPD warrant for felony aggravated assault, domestic battery with traumatic injury, attempted strangulation, burglary and misdemeanor false imprisonment.

Leal’s bail was set at $75,000. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 22.

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