Rancher dies in shootout with deputies planning to kill bull after accident

Deadly incident under investigation in Idaho


A crash between a car and a bull turned into a bizarre tragedy Sunday when an armed rancher confronted Idaho deputies planning to shoot the animal, leading to a shootout that left the well-known businessman dead, authorities said.

Jack Yantis, the bull's 62-year-old owner, was shot by police who had responded to the accident in an incident that is currently being investigated by the Idaho State Police.

"Somebody said he was the kind of guy that wouldn't back down, and I think that would be a good euphemistic way to put it," said Dale Fisk, who said he had known Yantis his whole life. Fisk is also the editor of the local paper, the Adams County Record.

A Subaru station wagon struck Yantis' bull on a highway around 6:45 p.m. on Sunday just north of Council, a town of roughly 800 people. Darkness had fallen on the open area by the time the accident occurred, KTVB reported, and collisions with livestock in the area are not uncommon.

"Absolutely, it's a fairly common thing this time of year," Fisk told"We call it the canyon area, and it's a windy little narrow highway right next to hills."

When Adams County sheriff's deputies responded to the crash, however, the injured bull began charging them as they worked to get the driver and passenger out of the car, Idaho State Police said.

“It’s not uncommon for us to have these kind of livestock versus vehicle accidents. Typically, they don’t turn out this way"

- Ryan Zollman, Adams County Sheriff

"The bull was very agitated and was aggressive to emergency services, as well as the other cars coming up and down the highway," Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman said.

Yantis allegedly arrived with a rifle just as deputies decided to put down the animal. Dispatchers had called Yantis after the crash, telling him a bull that appeared to be his was injured on a highway near Yantis’ home, Zollman told KTVB.

What happened next is unclear, but Yantis and two deputies all fired their weapons, officials said.

Yantis died at the scene, and one deputy suffered a minor injury. The bull also was shot and killed, though it’s not clear by whom.

“It’s not uncommon for us to have these kind of livestock versus vehicle accidents,” Zollman told KTVB. “Typically, they don’t turn out this way.”

Yantis’ wife, Donna, reportedly had a heart attack immediately after the incident and was taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, the Idaho Statesman reported. A hospital spokesman said she was in critical condition on Monday.

Both deputies, whose names have not been released, were placed on paid leave.

"To the best of my knowledge, this is the first officer-involved shooting that Adams County has ever had," Zollman said. "This is going to be a big hit to this community. The gentleman involved, Mr. Yantis, was a well-known cattle rancher around here. It's just a sad deal for everybody involved, for the whole community."

Both people inside the Subaru were taken to a local hospital by air ambulance. Their conditions and names were not known Monday.

Yantis was raised on a cattle ranch 6 miles north of Council and lived in the area his entire life, Fisk said. Fisk and Yantis met in grade school and also attended high school together.

"He played football," Fisk said. "He was a pretty good athlete."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.