An attempt to get a Bonners Ferry man with a history of mentally erratic behavior much-needed help Tuesday morning took an extremely scary turn when he made a break and fled in his truck, but law enforcement officers took immediate action and showed remarkable restraint such that no one was hurt.
This morning, the suspect was taken into custody without incident.
At about 6:22 a.m. March 30, staff at the Bonners Ferry Super 1 called sheriff’s dispatch to report a man behaving erratically and causing a disturbance. Bonners Ferry Assistant Police Chief Marty Ryan was among those who responded, and for the first time in his long law enforcement career, he was faced with a man wearing a tin foil hat.
“Literally, he was wearing a tin foil hat,” Ryan said. “That was a hint that it was going to be an interesting call.”
Cory Eccles, 32, was the cause of the disturbance, and while he had pocketed some merchandise, it was clear to those present that he was suffering a psychotic episode. Store personnel did not press charges and agreed with police, who called on family and friends to take Cory to get professional help.
As a friend led him out of the store, though, Eccles bolted, running to his blue and white two-tone 1988 Ford F150 pickup and taking off, turning north on Highway 95 and racing at more than 50 miles per hour as children made their way to school.
“It was scary,” Ryan said. “He was showing no regard for others. We immediately gave pursuit, not so much thinking to stop him but to sound warning, to get ahead and clear the way, especially to keep kids from crossing. As soon as he was through town, we called off the chase and kept him in sight as he turned east on Highway 2.”
Eccles reached speeds of around 80 miles per hour going up the North Hill, but slowed after realizing he was no longer being pursued.
This morning, officers obtained and served a warrant and Eccles was taken into custody, charged with felony eluding.
“That was a scary situation than ended well,” Ryan said. “Thank God no one was hurt. I’m glad Mr. Eccles is in custody, and hope this will prove an opportunity for him to get the help he needs.”