By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
A Rocky Boy teenager injured in a weekend car crash remains in the intensive care unit of Northern Montana Hospital.
Three other boys remain hospitalized as a result of the single-vehicle crash near Box Elder, which injured all seven occupants of the car.
According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the 1996 Toyota Camry crashed along Williamson Range Road about 5 miles south of Box Elder about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, shortly after Rocky Boy police had stopped pursuing the car. Police had attempted to pull the car over for reckless driving, the highway patrol said.
Anthony Russette, 17, suffered the most serious injury.
"Our nursing staff indicates that Mr. Russette is in fair condition based on his vital signs. The injury he suffered in the accident is a critical injury. Therefore he is being cared for in our intensive care unit," hospital spokeswoman Kathie Newell said today.
His parents were with him in the intenstive care unit this morning and could not be reached for comment.
The three other boys still hospitalized this morning were listed in good or fair condition.
"I think I got the best out of the whole deal," said 17-year-old Lance Stump, who was thrown out of the back window of the 1996 Toyota Camry. Stump suffered a broken collar bone and facial lacerations, he said during a telephone interview Tuesday from his hospital room at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings.
He was to be released Tuesday but return to the hospital today for additional treatment, his mother, Doris Windy Boy, said Tuesday.
"We're glad to have him with us. We're thankful for everyone's prayers and support and thankful that we're taking him home today," she said.
Stump was one of two teens to be airlifted to the Billings hospital after the crash. In the room next to him was 16-year-old Owen Russette. Russette said he is not sure when he will be discharged, adding that he suffered a broken pelvis and clavicle and a fractured right arm.
Highway Patrol officer Joel Knutsen said Rocky Boy police attempted to pull the Camry over for reckless driving. When the car didn't stop, tribal police chased the car until it crossed the reservation boundary and entered Chouteau County, Knutsen said. Police stopped the pursuit but continued to follow at a distance, he said.
"Once the pursuing officer left the reservation, he terminated active pursuit," Knutsen said. "He continued to drive Williamson Range Road in case the vehicle turned around. He came upon the crash scene a short time later."
According to a highway patrol report, the driver lost control of the car, which went into a ditch, struck a cutbank and became airborne. The vehicle flipped over once in the air, and landed on its wheels, the report said.
All seven occupants were injured, Knutsen said. No one was wearing seat belts, he added.
One of the occupants, a 16-year-old, was in good condition today at Northern Montana Hospital. Another, a 17-year-old, was in fair condition at Benefis HealthCare in Great Falls.
Justin Watson, 22, and Josh Eagleman, 18, were discharged from Northern Montana Hospital.
The crash is still under investigation and will be reviewed by the Chouteau County attorney, Knutsen said. The spot where the car wrecked is a "straight stretch of road," he added.
A blood sample taken from the driver has been sent to the State Crime Lab in Missoula, he added.