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Council rancher killed by county officers

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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A shadow fell" over our community on Monday when it learned of a tragedy, the likes of which has not occurred in living memory.

It began Sunday evening with a crash on Highway 95 along the southern slope of Fort Hall Hill, near mile marker 142, about 6 miles north of Council. About 6:45 PM, a Subaru station wagon, occupied by two unidentified people from the Nampa-Caldwell area hit a bull on the highway. The couple received serious, but not necessarily life-threatening injuries. Both Meadows Valley and Council EMS, plus Adams County deputies responded and began to extricate the driver and a passenger from the Subaru.

The bull that was hit was injured but not incapacitated and became aggressive toward responders and passing vehicles. The accident happened very near the ranch driveway of the bull's owner, Jack Yantis. According to Idaho State Police, as deputies prepared to put the injured bull down, Yantis arrived on scene with a rifle.

Neither the Adams County Sheriff's Office nor Idaho State Police (ISP) will comment on exactly what happened next except to say two deputies and Yantis fired their weapons, and "Mr. Yantis sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene." One officer received a minor injury.

At some point during the chaos, Mrs. Yantis (Donna) suffered a heart attack and was taken by ground ambulance to meet a Life Flight helicopter at the Midvale airport. She was flown to the St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise where, at last report, she was said to be in critical condition.

A statement from the Sheriff's Office and ISP said the following.

"Our thoughts are with our community and especially all those involved in this incident" said Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman. "The Adams County Sheriff's Office takes matters involving any use of force very seriously and we have requested detectives with the Idaho State Police to conduct the investigation into this incident."

"The deputies who were involved are on paid administrative leave per agency policy. Their names are not being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

"The two people who were involved in the motor vehicle crash were transported by air ambulance to a Boise hospital. The conditions of these two people are unknown at this time.

"US95 was blocked from 6:45 pm until 3:05 aim' Officers stopped traffic at New Meadows and the wye north of Council, and only allowed passenger vehicles to proceed through the Fruitvale-Glendale Road as a detour around the incident site. Trucks were delayed until the highway was cleared ISP is investigating the tragic incident. A call to ISP offices were not returned, but the Record will have updates on the investigation.

Idaho State Police Detectives believe that motorists stopped near the scene before the shooting incident may have information useful to their investigation. Anyone who might have helpful information is urged to call ISP Investigations at 208-884-7110.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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