WILMINGTON — As Jason Henley points out, working in retail as he does doesn’t produce the kind of excitement he dealt with on April 9, 2015.
He got a promotion from Costco that involved moving from Battleground, Washington to Ohio, and was passing through Idaho and on his way to his new home in northwest Clinton County when it happened. Henley and another man helped law enforcement take into custody a fleeing suspect who had crashed into a Boise Police car, then crashed his own car and was attempting to flee the scene.
Henley and his wife Dorothy were traveling on Interstate 84 with their belongings when a blue Dodge pickup passed them like it was flying. Because of the excessive speed Henley told his wife, even before he spotted a police cruiser, “I think he’s running from the cops.”
The cruiser in pursuit passed the Henleys as well, but they would catch up with it later.
As Henley came to an underpass, he saw a lot of dust on the right-hand side. He slowed down, not knowing what had happened.
As soon as they got clear of the dust, he saw a police officer in the median struggling with a suspect, who was resisting.
A second vehicle had already pulled over, and when Henley got there the other motorist, Jose R. Medrano-Lopes, had just reached the suspect, Henley said Thursday in an interview.
Idaho State Police Trooper Kenny Walker told Henley to get the suspect’s head and shoulders and hold him down. Henley, a veteran of the U.S. Marines Corps, and Medrano-Lopes “held the suspect down, providing Trooper Walker the ability to put handcuffs on him and place him under arrest,” according to an Idaho State Police’s plaque of appreciation that was awarded Thursday.
The suspect was charged with several felony offenses.
Henley said he would guess the suspect was 5-10 and weighed 240 pounds.
After the unplanned stop on the side of the road and the suspect’s arrest, Henley said his wife remarked, “I’m putting this on Facebook.”
Of the plaque, he said, “For me, it’s [his actions] not extraordinary. It’s just the right thing to do.”
In fact, he said he would expect everyone in his circle of friends from high school in the lumber mill town of Springfield, Oregon, to do the same thing in the same circumstances.
Henley said, “Hands-down, the police officers are the heroes. They’re the ones out there every day, keeping us safe, doing the right thing.”
Due to the geographic distance, the Idaho State Police asked the Wilmington post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol to present Henley a plaque on their behalf.
In making the presentation, Lt. Stan Jordan, the Wilmington post commander, said Henley had “put himself in jeopardy for a law enforcement officer.”
The Henleys have two children, Elizabeth, 9, and Max, 2.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.