By Tim Eberly
The Montana Highway Patrol issued a summons today for a Rocky Boy man officers believe was involved in a 20-minute highway pursuit that ended Thursday evening when he abandoned his vehicle on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation and fled on foot.
The highway patrol issued the summons on charges of driving while impaired and eluding a peace officer, patrol officer Roger Hinckley said today. His name has not been disclosed because the highway patrol is awaiting a positive identification of the suspect.
At 10:40 p.m. Thursday, an off-duty detention officer from the Hill County Sheriff's Office called 911 after spotting two people the suspect and his girlfriend driving erratically in a blue 1998 Plymouth Voyager on First Street in Havre, Hinckley said.
Hinckley located the vehicle driving south on U.S. Highway 87, about six miles south of U.S. Highway 2, he said. When the suspect refused to pull over, Hinckley pursued the vehicle while it traveled south on Laredo Road and onto the reservation, he said. Two Rocky Boy police officers took control of the pursuit when Hinckley crossed the Rocky Boy border, Hinckley said.
The speed of the chase varied from 45 mph to 75 mph. "It was a very slow-speed chase," Hinckley said.
After pulling onto Duck Creek Road, the man stopped the van in front of his residence at 11:03 p.m. and ran up a nearby hill behind his house, Hinckley said. Rocky Boy police did not follow the suspect on foot, he said.
The man's girlfriend did not flee. She will not be charged, Hinckley said. The off-duty detention officer told Hinckley that he observed her opening the passenger door of the van and stepping her right foot out of the vehicle while the vehicle was moving erratically. She later told Hinckley she did not play a role in the incident.
"She did say she was trying to get him to stop," Hinckley said.
The woman had been drinking, and told Hinckley that the suspect had been consuming alcohol, Hinckley said.
Either the woman or the suspect, who lives with his grandparents, placed a call from a cell phone during the chase to his grandmother, Hinckley said. The grandmother told Hinckley that she pleaded with him to stop the van, he said.