EAGLE, Idaho — A 72-year-old Eagle man is in the Ada County Jail on a Felony Aggravated Battery charge after punching an elderly couple and throwing them down an embankment on the Eagle Greenbelt. The Ada County Sheriff's Office said there was a dispute between Dwight E. Cook and the couple behind the Reid Merrill Park Tuesday.
Eagle Police arrived at the Greenbelt around 11:30 a.m. after getting a 911 call from the 71-year-old woman, who told investigators she and her husband, 83, were walking down the path when they saw a man walking a dog without a leash. According to a news release, the dog came running towards the couple and they asked Cook to put a leash on the dog and he refused.
After a brief verbal argument, the couple told police Cook punched the man in the shoulder and then shoved him down an embankment, where he landed on a barb-wire fence. According to the news release, the woman told police Cook then punched her in the stomach and threw her down the embankment, where she landed on her husband.
She said Cook then tried to take their cell phones, which fell out of their pockets and were on the ground. After she yelled at him, Cook dropped their phones, and she was able to take his picture as he walked away.
Police said in the release this was when she called 911. The couple met with police and Ada County Paramedics at Reid Merrill Park. Both the man and woman had dirt from the ground on them and visible injuries. It first appeared the injuries were not life-threatening, but the couple went to the hospital to get checked out.
That is when doctors determined the man was "significantly and seriously injured in the altercation," according to the release. He was admitted into the hospital for surgery; there is no word on his current condition.
Eagle Police found Cook later that day, and he initially told them the couple attacked him. Police say Cook did not have any visible injuries or dirt from the ground on him. According to the release, the details on his story were not clear, and investigators arranged to interview him again on Wednesday. At the same time, continuing to work on the case and develop a safety plan for the couple.
During the second interview, Cook told police he was walking his dog Tuesday morning when the couple began yelling at him. The release says that Cook said the couple threw rocks at him and then tackled him. Cook said that caused him to fall down the embankment, and he told investigators the man fell over for unknown reasons. That is when Cook said he walked away.
Investigators are still investigating the case and gather more evidence, including information about the injuries the 83-year-old received during the incident. By Thursday morning, police say they had enough evidence to charge Cook with felony aggravated battery and arrest him.
The crime of felony aggravated battery is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.