An inmate facing at least three years in an Idaho prison and a murder charge in Spokane ran Tuesday from sheriff’s deputies preparing to take him back to jail.
Authorities said Christopher C. Gober bolted while waiting for deputies to load him into a van transporting inmates back to the Kootenai County Jail from the county courthouse.
The 19-year-old Post Falls man reportedly ran across busy Northwest Boulevard in stocking feet before a deputy tackled him in the snow a few blocks away.
Another deputy who gave chase slipped on ice and injured his leg, said sheriff’s Lt. Sam Grubbs. Paramedics immobilized the deputy’s lower right leg and took him to Kootenai Medical Center where he was treated and released.
The Sheriff’s Department has launched an investigation into the incident, and Gober likely will face felony escape charges, Grubbs said.
Department procedures that regulate deputy-to-inmate staffing ratios were followed, he said.
“I think this is the first time anybody broke and ran on us,” Grubbs said.
Jail deputies Eric Anderson and Matt Young had lined up seven inmates, who had made morning court appearances, outside a holding cell about noon. The prisoners were being loaded into a van for the drive back to jail.
“They were in the process of doing that when one ran,” Grubbs said.
Gober ran through a parking area behind the courthouse and across Northwest Boulevard during lunch-time traffic, Grubbs said. Anderson immediately began chasing Gober while Young secured the other inmates in holding cells or the jail van.
Two motorists driving along Northwest Boulevard joined in the pursuit when they saw Gober fleeing in an orange jump suit and belly shackles.
“We turned around to block the guy,” said Steve Geyer, who swung his Subaru station wagon in front of Gober to slow the prisoner’s escape. “We had him up against the car once.”
Geyer and Barbara Wiswall then saw Anderson lying in the snow and went to help the fallen deputy.
Meanwhile, Young chased Gober along Mullan Avenue and tackled him behind Memorial Field, Grubbs said. A courthouse bailiff and Coeur d’Alene police officers arrived moments later.
Gober was taken back to jail where, earlier Tuesday, a judge had ordered him to be held while awaiting transportation to a Boise prison.
About two hours prior to the escape, First District Judge James Judd had sentenced Gober to consecutive five-year sentences on charges of aggravated assault and intimidating a witness. Gober had pleaded guilty to both charges, which stemmed from a drive-by shooting in Coeur d’Alene last spring.
The judge ordered Gober to serve at least two years on the aggravated assault charge and an additional year for intimidating a witness before he becomes eligible for parole.
Allowing the possibility of parole gave Gober a chance to make changes in his life and earn an early release from prison, Judd said before sentencing the teen. The judge told Gober he had not lost hope that the teen could become a member who contributes to society instead of one who causes problems.
Gober admitted to firing one shot from a handgun in the direction of two people standing outside a home at 10th Place. He had been scheduled to be sentenced last month, but skipped the hearing after Spokane law enforcement officers announced he was a suspect in a murder there.
Detectives in Spokane believe a shotgun blast Gober fired at close range killed Jeremy Moore. The 20-year-old man died in a Spokane Valley apartment after allegedly arguing with Gober, Edward “Alan” Burrow and another man over a gun, according to Spokane court records released Tuesday.
Gober and Burrow were arrested earlier this month in a raid on a Coeur d’Alene home by sheriff’s deputies.
Both have been charged with murdering Moore and have indicated they plan to agree to be extradited. Details of their return to Spokane apparently have not been worked out.
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