By Ron VandenBoom
Other law enforcement agencies did assist the Havre Police Department and the Hill County Sheriff's Department in the early morning chase that led to the arrest of two Helena men Monday.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Police were in contact with the Hill County Sheriff's Department and Havre Police the morning of the chase and according to BNSF Senior Patrolman Greg Sandsness assisted by using a railroad thermal imaging device in the search for the two fugitives and were at the scene when the arrest was made.
Chad Earl Duke, 20 of Helena and Jared Lee Rosling, of East Helena, are currently being held in the Hill County Detention Center on charges of motor vehicle theft, burglary, possession of drug paraphernalia, and various parole and probation violations.
They were arrested after Havre Police receive a report shortly before 1 a.m. Monday of a man brandishing a rifle and yelling in front of a motel in the 600 block of First Street. The call eventually developed into a high speed chase north of Havre on Highway 232 and an extensive search for the two suspects in the area of the old Havre Air Force Station turn-off.
Sandsness said he was asked for assistance shortly after 2:30 a.m. Monday because the railroad had thermal imaging equipment that is capable of detecting the body heat of animals and men at long distances.
Sandsness said by the time he received the call for assistance the suspects had left their vehicle and officers were trying to track the suspects on foot. He arrived on the scene about 2:45 Monday morning.
He was asked to use his equipment to scan the area around the area where the suspects had left their vehicle, Sandsness said, adding that he was also asked to scan the area around buildings and in fields where a suspect might hide or ambush officers involved in the search.
About 5 a.m. Sandsness said he did detect what he believed was the thermal image of two men running across a field.
He said he contacted deputies and they were about ready to search that area when they noticed the vehicle the suspects are alleged to have stolen.
Sandsness said he witnessed the Havre Police Officer and a reserve deputy stop the vehicle and he arrived on the scene while the suspects were being removed from the vehicle shortly after 6:30 a.m.
The suspects are alleged to have stolen the vehicle from a area ranchers to make their getaway.
The Havre Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol did not, according to Jim Clardy, assistant chief of the Havre Sector, actively participate in the search or in the apprehension of the two suspects, but two agents were on the way to the scene at the time the arrest was made.
Clardy said the Border Patrol fixed wing airplane had also taken off and was on its way to the scene to aid in the search when the arrest was made.