An Idaho Falls man who was involved in an attempted kidnapping was sentenced to prison Wednesday.
Tyler Neil Garcia, 24, was arrested in September when he and Rodney Maddux, 25, pulled up to a man on Lindsay Boulevard. Maddux reportedly threatened the man with a gun, telling him to get into the car. The two fled after several people came out from a nearby building.
An Idaho Falls Police Department officer passed the two shortly after the victim called 911. Garcia, the driver, fled before the officer had turned on his lights.
During the chase, Garcia drove 80 mph in speed zones ranging from 25 to 40 mph. On 17th Street he drove into oncoming traffic. Police stopped him with a PIT maneuver. Garcia attempted to ram through the police cars, damaging them. He and Maddux refused to exit the car when ordered, and police shattered the passenger side window to pull them out.
Defense Attorney Jason Gustaves acknowledged his client was unlikely to get probation, given that he was already on probation in two separate cases and had been through a rider program. Gustaves said Garcia needed treatment for his substance abuse, and must change his behavior and attitude.
Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor Tanner Crowther said the case was similar to Garcia’s previous offense in 2016, when he also fled police. Crowther argued that if a rider program hadn’t dissuaded Garcia from recommitting the offense, then the court needed to consider prison.
Crowther said the eluding charge warranted prison by itself. Garcia was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm for two guns found in the car and aggravated assault for ramming the police cars.
“We have to send a message that if you put our community at risk, you will not be in our community,” Crowther said.
Garcia told the court he had no excuse for fleeing, but said he had otherwise behaved on probation. He criticized the justice system, saying it only assisted drug addicts when they committed crimes.
“When I get in trouble and I’m running from something, I get the help,” Garcia said.
District Judge Bruce Pickett said Garcia had violated his probation several times, including having been caught drinking the same day he was released from his rider program.
Pickett also said Garcia hadn’t taken the steps to seek help, and had endangered people’s lives by fleeing police.
“People drive on 17th Street. They don’t expect to crash into cars going straight up against traffic,” Pickett said.
Garcia was sentenced to three to 15 years in prison and to pay $3,000 in fines.
Rodney Maddux has a change of plea hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Bonneville County Courthouse.