The Vinton Police Department was notified on Wednesday, Aug. 8, by the United States Marshal’s Service that a subject named Kody Joe Harris, age 35, had active federal warrants for his arrest for probation violation and that Harris was traveling to Vinton.
At approximately 10:15 p.m., officers observed Harris driving a car into Vinton and they followed him at a distance until he parked in the 700 block of D Avenue in an attempt to prevent a vehicle pursuit. As officers approached, Harris drove away at a high rate of speed traveling through downtown Vinton and failing to yield at several traffic control devices. Officers estimated Harris’ speed at more than 80 mph.
Officers lost sight of Harris’ car on the east side of Vinton but were contacted by alert citizens who observed him hide the car and run into the woods near the Cedar River.
During an extensive search of a thickly wooded area along the Cedar River, officers found a female passenger from Harris’ car hiding in the brush. She was identified as April Nichole Baldwin, age 37, of Cedar Rapids. Baldwin had an active warrant for her arrest from Linn County for probation violation. Officers were unable to located Harris at that time.
Baldwin was arrested and transported to the Benton County Jail on the warrant for probation violation.
Vinton Police also charged Baldwin with the following;
1) Carrying Weapons (aggravated misdemeanor), section 724.4(1) of the Code of Iowa
2) Interference With Official Acts (simple misdemeanor), section 719.1 of the Code of Iowa
Harris is still wanted by federal authorities for a probation violation and Vinton Police officers will be filing additional State charges on him. Harris is not believed to have violent tendencies but he may still be hiding in the Vinton area.
Residents are reminded to not leave vehicles unattended with keys in them in order to prevent them from being stolen and to ensure their residences are secure.
If anyone sees Kody Harris or knows his whereabouts, they are asked to call the Vinton Police Department at 319- 472-2321, the United States Marshals Office – Cedar Rapids office at 319-362-4411, or their local law enforcement agency.
During the pursuit, officers’ efforts to pursue Harris were hampered by multiple young adults who ran out into the street at one location in what appeared to be a reckless effort to video record the pursuit as the suspect and three pursuing patrol cars passed by. One Vinton Police officer had to take evasive action in order to avoid striking the subjects who displayed little regard for their own safety or the officers involved.
The Vinton Police Department would like to remind citizens to please maintain a safe distance when watching and/or recording any police activity.
The Vinton Police Department was assisted during this incident by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. An arrest or criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant(s) is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.