By Tim Eberly
While being pursued by Havre police, a 34-year-old man was killed Monday afternoon when he lost control of his vehicle eight miles south of Havre and crashed.
The Montana Highway Patrol withheld his name because his relatives had not yet been notified.
The man, a resident of Box Elder, was being chased by officers after police received a report at 2:38 p.m. about a man with a knife at the Gallery Lounge in the Holiday Village Shopping Center, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.
Police said he brandished a knife and threatened patrons.
He fled the scene on foot and stole a 1997 Dodge pickup that was parked in a nearby parking lot, in front of Frontier Lawn and Landscape, the highway patrol said.
"There were numerous patrons that had exited the bar and were excitedly pointing toward the vehicle, which led the officer to make the assumption that he was in that vehicle," Police Chief Kevin Olson said.
Police pursued the man for several miles when his car drifted off the right side of U.S. Highway 87. The driver turned back onto the road, and veered into oncoming traffic. In an attempt to straighten his path, the man overcorrected his steering and lost control of the vehicle, according to the highway patrol.
The vehicle spun several times in the southbound lane and slid sideways into a ditch, where it rolled one and a half times. The pickup came to rest upside down, and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
He suffered severe head trauma, the patrol said.
Mark Bosch of the highway patrol said the man was driving 95 to 100 mph. Three Havre police officers were in pursuit, he said. Police reports stated the man was not wearing a seat belt.