Fugitive Jesse Harrell Hides In Trunk During Traffic Stop While Mom Drives

Jesse Harrell of Lewiston reminds us that trunk monkeys are real.

Jesse Harrell of Lewiston reminds us that trunk monkeys are real.

Jesse Harrell Hid In The Trunk Of His Mom’s Car, Ready To Ambush Officer

Lewiston, Idaho – An alert Lewiston police officer was reminded recently that no traffic stop is routine when wanted fugitive, Jesse Harrell, popped out of the trunk of the vehicle holding what appeared to be a gun.

Lewiston Police Chief Chris Ankeny, who released the officer’s dash-cam video of the incident reported that on Monday night at approximately 8:48 PM, Lewiston Police Officer Tom Woods performed a traffic stop on the 1300 block of 16th Avenue. Although he initiated the traffic stop because the vehicle did not display a license plate, Officer Woods had prior information that the vehicle belonged to Harrell and that he was wanted. The driver of the vehicle however turned out to be Harrell’s mother.

“What you don’t see is the driver who immediately gets out of the vehicle and confronts the officer who’s sitting in his vehicle,” said Chief Ankeny. The officer ordered the mother back into the vehicle. It’s obvious that mom knows her precious son is hiding in the trunk of the vehicle and that he’s wanted by police, but has yet to inform the officer, thereby knowingly placing him in danger.

Instead, mom proved that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. “The driver of the vehicle then tells our officer not to shoot; it’s just a toy gun,” said Chief Ankeny. When Officer Woods calls for backup, he noticed the fugitive exiting the trunk holding what looked like a firearm. The video shows Harrell fighting with the officer who eventually takes the fugitive to the ground.
See the video here:

Harrell reportedly had brass knuckles in his pocket and slipped out of his handcuffs while in custody. The genius subsequently caught more charges for his effort including resisting arrest and aggravated assault. Police also arrested Harrell’s mother for obstructing justice.

Chief Ankeny told KLEW News’ Anna Velasquez that 22-year-old Jesse Harrell had outstanding warrants for failing to appear related to cases involving malicious injury to property and driving without privileges. Harrell also has a criminal history which includes arrests for resisting or obstructing officers.

“Our officer used great amount of restraint in taking the suspect into custody,” said Chief Ankeny. “Shocked as I was to watch that video I just think that it’s something that the community needs to see… but here in Lewiston as well.”

There are people who criticize police for at times being on heightened alert when dealing the public. They say the police sometimes use tactics which are “militaristic” or “aggressive” in certain situations. Police tactics are a result of extensive training and experience which includes watching training videos like the one in this case. But in most training videos, the officer doesn’t survive. Criticism of police, like that of any criticism, is influenced by perspective. From the perspective of the police officer, all he or she really wants at the end of the day is to go home safe while keeping the public safe as well.

Officer Tom Woods went home safe on Monday, and we’re grateful for that.

Does this change your perspective on interacting with law enforcement? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below.