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LOGAN — Investigators are looking at whether a pending lawsuit prompted an Idaho man to engage in a shootout with police last month near the Utah-Idaho border.
On Dec. 15, police say Cade M. Austin, 30, was driving erratically on U.S. 91 near Lewiston, Cache County, when he went off the road and crashed into a large natural gas line, causing gas to spew out of it.
"Witnesses informed dispatch that the driver appeared to be upset, and when he exited the vehicle he was visibly unstable," a newly unsealed search warrant affidavit filed in 1st District Court states.
Austin got back into his car before paramedics arrived. When emergency crews got there, Austin allegedly pulled a gun on them. That prompted an exchange of gunfire as first responders retreated to take cover. Austin was hit multiple times by a reserve police officer during the shootout.
A SWAT team was called and Austin was taken into custody after about an hour standoff.
On Dec. 17, Logan police went to Austin's house in Preston, Idaho, to execute a search warrant.
"During this search, a collections notice was found indicating that Cade was to be the defendant on a pending lawsuit for medical expenses. This notice was dated 12/9/15 and had a mail stamp of 12/10/15. A Glock handgun box was recovered along with a number of 9mm round matching the casings found on scene," the affidavit states.
Police also learned "that he had mentioned to (his mother) that he was suicidal and would be driving home through Logan," according to the warrant.
Investigators requested a copy of Austin's credit report, the affidavit states, to "help investigators determine the state of mind of Cade at the time of the incident."
Austin was charged with two counts of attempted murder, a first-degree felony; DUI, a class B misdemeanor; interfering with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor; reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor; and having an open container in a vehicle, a class C misdemeanor.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 2.