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Several agencies investigating driver's suicide after DUI arrest

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Posted at 2:48 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 16:48:44-04

The Canyon County Sheriff's Office, Idaho State Police and the FBI are doing a joint investigation into the apparent suicide of a man who was under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. The 57-year-old man, from Battle Mountain, Nevada, died for a self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 9.

An ISP trooper saw the incident around 1:30 p.m. on State Highway 51 on the Duck Valley Reservation, about four miles north of the Nevada border. The trooper was called to help agents from the BIA with the DUI investigation. The investigation started after a person called 911 to report a possible impaired driver. A BIA agent found the subject vehicle, a mid-sized RV with Nevada license plates.

Since the investigation was happening on the Duck Valley Reservation but on a state highway with a non-tribal person, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) contacted ISP to help. The driver of the RV failed the field sobriety tests. The driver and his dog were the only people in the RV.

When the ISP trooper arrived, he continued the DUI investigation and found more evidence, leading to the driver being placed under arrest. Before the man was taken to jail, he was allowed to go inside the RV to care for his dog. Once the man and the trooper were inside the RV, the man got a handgun and fired one shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the trooper saw it happen.

The BIA agent was just outside the RV and heard the shot. The trooper did not fire his weapon and neither the trooper nor the agent were hurt.

As per standard procedure, the involved trooper is on administrative leave. The Idaho State Police have invoked critical incident protocols and requested a multi-agency response to help in the investigation. The FBI and Canyon County Sheriff's Office are helping ISP detectives.

ISP specified information in the press release this information was taken from is considered preliminary, pending the results of the investigation. When finished, the criminal investigation will be submitted to the Owyhee County Prosecutor for review. Also consistent with standard procedure, an internal review by the Idaho State Police has begun to determine that agency procedure was followed.