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Man gets battery charge after kicking officer during DUI arrest

Crime Watch

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CHUBBUCK — A Pocatello man faces a felony charge for allegedly kicking an officer during an arrest.

Justin Matthew Espinoza, 27, also faces misdemeanor charges for driving under the influence and resisting arrest, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Police reports show Chubbuck Police Department officers were called to the Idaho Kidney Center on Knudsen Boulevard around 10:30 p.m. on June 18. A caller told dispatchers a man was banging on the door of the facility demanding to be let in, the affidavit reads.

Witnesses at the kidney center later told officers the man, later identified as Espinoza, was attempting to hand over his credit card, as if he was paying for a hotel room, one witness said.

When officers arrived they saw a Nissan Altima leaving the parking lot of the facility.

Officers witnessed Espinoza, the driver of the Altima, take the turn from Burnside Avenue onto Yellowstone Avenue. He turned wide, police reports read, crossing into the left lane. Officers also noted that the Altima’s headlights were not on.

After pulling him over, officers requested Espinoza’s license and registration. Espinoza opened his wallet and removed his credit card before putting it back and closing his wallet. Reports also show he was unable to find his insurance card and registration.

During his interaction with police, Espinoza was noted as having bloodshot and glossy eyes. He also slurred his speech and struggled to keep his balance.

Espinoza was pulled out of his vehicle, after declining get out on his own.

He was handcuffed and transported to the Chubbuck Police Department. During transport, Espinoza began striking his head against the inside of the patrol vehicle. Thinking he may be suffering a seizure, the transporting officer pulled over and requested emergency medical support.

Several unsuccessful attempts were made by the officer to garner a response from Espinoza, who was leaned backward in the seat with his eyes partially shut. Then, when the officer shined a flashlight in is face, Espinoza shot forward and began yelling at and kicking the officer.

The officer reported being struck several times, in the arm, leg and side, by the kicks, but was able to subdue Espinoza. The suspect continued yelling and cursing at the officers throughout the process.

Due to his combative actions, EMS informed officers they were not comfortable transporting Espinoza to Portneuf Medical Center. He was, instead, transported by police with the ambulance following.

While at the hospital, Espinoza again kicked the officer while he was being carried into the hospital. He then declined treatment and was transported to Bannock County Jail where he was booked for driving under the influence and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, as well as felony battery of an officer.

If he is found guilty of the battery charge, Espinoza would face one to five years in prison as well as fines up to $50,000.

He is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on June 29.