By Tim Eberly
A Havre man in police custody used his handcuffs Wednesday to break a rear window and escape from a police vehicle. He was apprehended a second time when an officer used pepper spray to ferret him from underneath a vehicle, Havre police said.
David Lee McKinney, 25, engaged local law enforcement in a vehicle pursuit and two separate foot pursuits after Havre police performed a traffic stop on his 1987 Oldsmobile at 3:48 p.m. Wednesday, Police Chief Kevin Olson said today.
Police charged McKinney with reckless driving by evading, escape, criminal mischief/vandalism, criminal endangerment, simple assault, possession of drugs with intent to sell, speeding, driving without insurance (second offense) and a stop sign violation.
When McKinney was booked into the Hill County Detention Center at 4:20 p.m., officers found him in possession of an unspecified amount of marijuana and methamphetamine, Olson said.
McKinney is being held without bond.
The traffic stop on McKinney was initiated because his vehicle was missing a license plate, Olson said. Officers discovered McKinney had an outstanding arrest warrant in Hill County Justice Court for contempt, and asked him to step out of his vehicle.
Deanna Reynolds, a math teacher at Havre High School, was driving northbound when three police officers performed the traffic stop on McKinney in the 1300 block of Fifth Avenue.
"When the one (police officer) got to his window, he started to drive off," Reynolds said.
As the suspect accelerated, Reynolds pulled her vehicle to the side of the road, she said. The officers pursued McKinney, who sped past Reynolds and several other vehicles in the middle of the two-lane road.
Havre police officers, Hill County sheriff's deputies and a Montana Highway Patrol officer chased McKinney as he looped through residential streets and alleyways in Havre before abandoning his vehicle in the 600 block of Montana Avenue at 4 p.m., Olson said.
A brief foot pursuit ensued for a block and a half, until highway patrol Sgt. Mark Bosch used physical force to detain McKinney in the 600 block of First Avenue, Olson said. McKinney had led the officers through the back yards of nearby homes.
"He was jumping fences and trying to flee," Olson said.
While a police officer drove McKinney to the jail, he slipped his handcuffs out from behind his back and shattered the rear driver's side window and climbed out, Olson said.
McKinney took refuge under a vehicle parked near a bus garage at Havre Middle School, Olson said, before he was captured again.
The vehicle sustained $400 worth of damage, Olson said.
The chase reached speeds of up to 55 mph, he said.