Man sentenced for escaping jail, taking police on high speed chase, and shooting at officers
IDAHO FALLS – An Idaho Falls man who escaped from police custody and led officers on a high-speed chase was sentenced Wednesday.
Peter Andrew Lewis, 42, was given a unified sentence of 35 years in prison by District Judge Bruce Pickett. He will not be eligible to apply for parole for at least 15 years.
Lewis was originally charged with felony fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, felony aggravated assault, felony unlawful possession by a convicted felon, an enhancement for consecutive sentences for felonies committed in correctional facilities, and three enhancements for being a persistent violator.
A plea agreement was reached on Oct. 6, in which Lewis agreed to plead guilty to felony fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, felony aggravated assault, and one enhancement for being a persistent violator. The prosecution agreed to dismiss the other four charges.
According to a news release from Bonneville County Prosecutor Randy Neal, “Lewis has a lengthy criminal history and was classified as a prosecution priority under the Bonneville County prosecuting attorney’s career criminal initiative.”
Lewis was one of three men who had been released from the Bonneville County Jail on ankle monitors for work release and court-ordered furlough, and did not return on July 6.
Officers later discovered that all three men had cut off their ankle monitors.
Idaho Falls police officers and Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies located Lewis at around 2:45 a.m. on July 21.
Detectives discovered Lewis driving a blue Honda Civic in the area of John Adams Parkway and Woodruff Avenue. After an attempt to stop him, using the emergency lights on their police cars, Lewis did not comply and began to “drive recklessly at high speeds attempting to evade police,” according to a news release from the Idaho Falls Police Department.
Several officers responded to assist, as Lewis continued to flee, driving at speeds of 80 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone. Lewis led officers out of the city limits where he reached speeds of 100 mph in a 55 mph zone.
A short time later, the officer leading the pursuit saw glass breaking on one of the vehicle’s windows and Lewis point a handgun out the driver’s side window back towards the officer. He fired multiple times.
Officers and deputies did not return fire at any time during the incident, according to the news release.
Deputies and officers continued to chase Lewis as he traveled at very high speeds.
An Idaho Falls Police patrol vehicle leading the pursuit, sustained significant damage after striking a deer that ran between the suspect vehicle and the patrol car.
At 3:30 a.m., Lewis’s car high-centered off-road on a trail in Madison County and got stuck. Deputies and officers stopped behind the vehicle and got out, before seeing that Lewis had ran into the densely wooded area.
Officers called out to Lewis, telling him to surrender, and informing him that a Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office K-9 may be released if he did not do so. Lewis responded to officers, stepped back into a visible area, and complied.
Lewis was taken into custody with no further incident.