Oregon Man Sentenced to Prison for Stolen Vehicle

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Laurie Welch
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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BURLEY • A Cassia County judge handed Phuong Hoang Le, 38, a 36-month prison sentence with six months fixed Tuesday after he was arrested in November for possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a stolen bank card...

McCord Larsen, Cassia County deputy prosecutor, said Le, who entered the country illegally, has 10 adult felony convictions so far, which matches the number of years he has been in the U.S.

Le was charged with felony possession of a stolen vehicle and fraudulent possession of a bank card and misdemeanor charges of eluding a police officer and driving without privileges....

“This case has perplexed me from the beginning,” said Timothy Schneider, Cassia County chief deputy public defender.

Schneider said Le was driving from Oregon to Georgia in a stolen vehicle and the state of Oregon “doesn’t have an interest in the case.”

“I don’t know why my tax money will be used to house Mr. Le and Oregon is not concerned,” said Schneider.

Schneider said he does not understand why Idaho is interested in the case either.

“And here’s another little bit of sand..,” said Schneider. “He’s here in the U.S. illegally but he’s not going to be deported.”

Schneider said according to the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, if Le were to be deported to Vietnam “he would be killed.”

“Ultimately, this is a weird case with weird facts,” Schneider said.

According to court records, an Idaho State Police trooper spotted Le driving at 91 mph westbound on Interstate 84 on Nov. 6, with one headlight out. The trooper pulled him over near the Exit 216.

Le told the trooper he was out of gas and was driving fast to get to the gas station before he ran out. Le asked the trooper if they could move the traffic stop to the gas station and the trooper followed Le down the interstate off ramp. Le turned left without stopping at the stop sign and proceeded north past the gas station. Just prior to the bridge north of the interstate Le turned his car around and headed south. He then pulled to the side of the road and jumped out of the car and ran into a field heading towards the river. Le was captured walking across the bridge and taken to jail.

Crabtree said he does not understand why Oregon has not filed felony charges or sought to extradite Le.

“I am satisfied that you did commit those crimes while in Idaho,” said Crabtree.

On the flip side, Crabtree said, the most egregious part of the crimes occurred in Oregon.

Crabtree said the court will also consider restitution if a request is filed at a later date.