Man arrested for trying to kill deputies

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Zachary Eads was arrested Saturday after leading deputies on a chase and then trying to drive his truck over one deputy's patrol car. Lake County Jail photo.

 

HIDDEN VALLEY – A Yuba City man is in jail on more than $1 million bond for an early morning incident Saturday during which he allegedly tried to kill two sheriff's deputies with his truck.


Zachary James Eads, 33, was arrested for a laundry list of charges stemming from his confrontation with Sgt. Brian Martin and Sgt. Jim Samples of the Lake County Sheriff's Office, according to a Monday report from Sheriff Rod Mitchell.


Mitchell reported that deputies responded at 3:30 a.m. Saturday to Hidden Valley Lake, where Eads had reportedly been threatening someone.


Before deputies arrived on scene, Hidden Valley security personnel saw Eads fleeing the area on Hartmann Road, according to Mitchell.


Eads reportedly crossed Highway 29 where his Ford F-250 pickup collided with a power pole and started a small vegetation fire along the highway, Mitchell reported.


He again took off, with Hidden Valley security spotting him as he tried to escape. Mitchell said Sgt. Martin intercepted the truck and activated his overhead emergency lights. Eads, however, didn't stop, and attempted to evade the enforcement stop by driving at high speeds through residential neighborhoods in Hidden Valley.


At this point, said Mitchell, Sgt. Samples joined Martin in attempt to stop Eads, who drove onto Spyglass Road which ends in a closed cul-de-sac.


Martin exercised a “pit maneuver” in the cul-de-sac, said Mitchell, which uses the front bumper of a patrol car pushing against the rear corner of the pursued vehicle. That causes the pursued vehicle to lose rear-wheel traction and traps its front end using the front of a second deputy’s vehicle.


Martin successfully managed the maneuver, trapping Eads' truck with his patrol car blocking the rear and Samples' patrol car blocking the front of Eads’ Ford truck, said Mitchell.


But Eads apparently wasn't ready to give up. The sheriff reported that Eads drove his truck forward into the front end of Sgt. Samples’ patrol car causing the patrol car air-bags to deploy. A civilian who was in Samples' care for a ride-a-long was able to escape and get to safety.


Martin commanded Eads several times to stop and get out of the truck but Eads refused to comply, said Mitchell. Instead, Eads reportedly alternated between forward and reverse gears to gain traction to begin climbing the driver’s side of Samples’ patrol car while he was still seated behind the wheel.


Eads managed to get his pickup to climb onto the hood of Samples' patrol car, bending the hood in half and forcing it up in front of the windshield, Mitchell explained. Martin’s driver’s door was damaged when Eads reversed into it and significant damage was done to the front end and engine compartment of Samples’ car.


When Eads didn't stop, Martin fired his duty weapon into Eads' truck, which finally caused Eads to stop, said Mitchell. However, Eads – who had only minor injuries and sustained no gunshot wounds -- continued to fight and physically resist arrest. He threatened the transporting deputy and hospital staff where he was taken for medical clearance before being booked in the jail.


With Eads in custody, Mitchell said Samples and Martin checked with residents of the neighborhood to make sure that no one was injured.


Eads was booked into the Lake County Jail on charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon, resisting/obstructing a peace officer, felony evasion, terrorist threats and unlawfully causing a fire. His bail is listed as $1,065,000.


In the case of officer-involved shootings such as this, Mitchell said, “Standard protocol would normally involve our department inviting the District Attorney’s Office investigators to conduct an investigation into the incident.”


However, Martin – who is the son of Judge Richard Martin – also has relatives employed by the District Attorney's Office, and Mitchell was concerned that could lead to the appearance of a conflict of interest.


The sheriff said he consequently contacted the California Highway Patrol and requested their specialized critical incident team from Redding to conduct the investigation into this incident.


Mitchell said he was indebted to the local CHP office for their assistance and for their willingness to call on their Northern Divisions’ special incident team. “In addition to the significant training and expertise of CHP’s investigators, their home office being located in Redding helps us to assure a completely independent investigation,” he said.


In addition, Mitchell thanked the residents of the Hidden Valley neighborhood for their support for the deputies and patience while the cul-de-sac was shut down much of Saturday as investigators processed the scene. He said Hidden Valley Security personnel were also generous with their time and assistance before, during, and after the incident.


Most of all, Mitchell added, “We are very pleased that neither our deputies nor any other innocent civilians were injured during this incident.”


Because of the potential for conflict of interest, Mitchell said he believes it's likely the case will be forwarded to the state Attorney General’s Office for review. That determination, he added, will be made by the District Attorney’s Office after they receive and review all of the relevant reports.


Until the District Attorney's Office reviews the investigation, said Mitchell, no other details will be released.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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