Craig Stern

Stern

A man who was driving erratically and nearly hit an Idaho State Police trooper in May was sentenced to prison Monday.

Craig Stern, 28, was arrested May 1 after he led law enforcement on a high-speed chase on U.S. Highway 20. Stern was driving at speeds up to 125 mph at night, at times swerving into oncoming traffic.

After law enforcement spiked Stern's tires, he fled on foot and broke into a nearby house to hide from police. A Bonneville County Sheriff's Office deputy took him into custody.

The combination of the potential harm Stern could have caused and his criminal history convinced District Judge Joel Tingey to sentence him to two-to-five years in prison for attempting to flee and elude police, two-to-four years for drug possession and 180 days in jail for driving under the influence. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Five other charges, including two counts of unlawful entry and one for driving a stolen vehicle, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Stern also is wanted in his home state of North Dakota for violating his parole.

Public Defender John Thomas had asked for Stern to be placed on retained jurisdiction. He said Stern's actions stem primarily from drug use and an undiagnosed mental illness. He suggested the program could help Stern deal with his parole in North Dakota and reduce his risk of reoffending.

Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor Alex Muir said a rider program would not be appropriate. He said Stern had already shown he wasn't open to treatment through his parole.

Muir said Stern had failed drug tests in North Dakota and violated his parole by leaving the state. He added that Stern had been cited twice in the Bonneville County Jail since his arrest, once for possession of contraband and once for a fight.

Tingey said Stern had put several people at risk in his attempt to flee, and agreed with Muir that a prison sentence was warranted.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.