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Court documents detail tense high speed chase and shooting

Crime Watch

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Talon Scott Cavanaugh | Courtesy Chubbuck Police Department

CHUBBUCK — A local man who allegedly fired at a Chubbuck Police officer and led police from several east Idaho law enforcement agencies on a long pursuit is facing numerous felony charges.

Talon Scott Cavanaugh is charged with attempting to elude officers, aggravated assault on an officer and destruction of evidence following a chase from Chubbuck to Fort Hall that took place around 4 p.m. Thursday. That is in addition to outstanding warrants in Bonneville County for allegedly firing a gun above the head of a 3-year-old, and Bingham County for vehicle theft, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

RELATED | Police release update on man arrested for allegedly firing gun at officers

Investigations into Cavanaugh, 26, led Pocatello Police narcotics officers to a fourplex on Adams Street in Pocatello. A 2001 blue-green Volkswagen Jetta known to be a vehicle used by Cavanaugh was identified at the home. Despite the hood and trunk having been spray-painted black since Feb. 9, when Cavanaugh is alleged to have been involved in the shooting incident in Bonneville County, officers confirmed the Jetta to be the one used by Cavanaugh.

While they tried to get a search warrant for the home, officers were informed that a man identified as Cavanaugh had entered the vehicle and left.

Chubbuck Police officers were informed of the vehicle, which had been outfitted with fictitious license plates.

Officers saw the Jetta traveling south down Yellowstone Avenue. After following the vehicle for several blocks and confirming that the driver was alone, officers attempted a traffic stop on Chickadee Drive.

The pursuit

Cavanaugh kept to legal speeds without slowing to stop. The officer activated his siren on Eagle Road, according to the affidavit.

Cavanaugh was then seen leaning out of his driver window facing the officer. The officer said that Cavanaugh was holding a dark object in his hand. The object then flashed several times, and the officer realized it was a gun.

One round shattered the glass of Cavanaugh’s rear driver-side window. Several more ricocheted off the pavement between the Jetta and the patrol vehicle. The officer, fearing for his life, slammed on the brakes and swerved right while ducking for cover behind the engine block of his vehicle. In his report, the officer said he could not confirm the number of shots fired, but evidence technicians later found five spent shell casings at the scene — in addition to one unspent round.

As locations and movements were broadcast over the radio, one additional officer noted hearing gunshots, and he responded to the location. Others responded when the lead officer called, “Shots fired. Shots fired.”

With several patrol vehicles, including unmarked vehicles from both police departments now involved in the chase, numerous officers said Cavanaugh tried to escape at speeds of up to 115 miles per hour on Hiline Road. Police also said Cavanaugh swerved into oncoming traffic.

The chase continued onto Highway 91 and into Fort Hall, where Fort Hall Police joined the chase.

The first officer gave lead of the chase to another officer as his vehicle’s top speed was no longer sufficient to remain close to Cavanaugh. The new lead officer noted going as fast as 125 mph and still losing ground as the chase neared Bronco Road in Fort Hall.

Cavanaugh did slow momentarily, according to the affidavit, when he nearly lost control of his vehicle. But he sped back up once he got control.

After Cavanaugh drove through barbed wire and across an agricultural field in Ferry Butte, the Jetta was finally disabled.

The arrest

Officers found the vehicle unoccupied. They drew their weapons and began searching the area.

Cavanaugh was found barricaded in sagebrush. After surrendering, Cavanaugh told officers that he had consumed heroin and needed medical assistance.

Officers administered three doses of Narcan to treat the opioid overdose and requested emergency medical services. Cavanaugh later told officers that he was surprised the medication worked as he had consumed five grams of the narcotic.

Cavanaugh was transported to Portneuf Medical Center via ambulance. Officers from CPD escorted the ambulance, including one riding in the ambulance, due to Cavanaugh’s violent history.

The vehicle driven by Cavanaugh was transported to an evidence storage facility where to awaits a search warrant before officers can enter. A search involving two Pocatello K9s of the field near where Cavanaugh was found did not yield the gun. Officers have not yet been able to uncover the weapon.

While being treated at Portneuf, Cavanaugh told a social worker he feared “the cartel” was attempting to kill him. He did not want to pull over for police as he feared the officers were under the employ of “the cartel,” he allegedly added.

The social worker told police that there were concerns regarding Cavanaugh’s mental health, saying that Cavanaugh had also said “he should have killed himself.” Bannock County Detention deputies were informed of this when Cavanaugh’s custody was transferred to the Bannock County Jail.

During the pursuit, additional officers from Pocatello and Chubbuck went to Briarwood Drive near Eagle Road in search of any bystanders who may have been in need of medical assistance.

Police said they didn’t find anyone who was injured. Officers were not hurt during the pursuit either, and the gunfire didn’t damage patrol vehicles, though several did receive damage during the chase.

If found guilty, Cavanaugh could face up to 20 years in prison and as much as $70,000 in fines.

Cavanaugh is being held on a $250,000 bail and is expected to be in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 22.

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