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Driver faces charges in police chase, break-in, vehicle crash

 


A Canadian man accused of leading Havre police on a car chase early Monday has been arraigned on 13 misdemeanor charges.

Terence Cory Johnstone, 21, of Leoville, Saskatchewan, remains jailed in Havre on $2,895 bond after an initial hearing Tuesday night.

The charges stem from allegations that Johnstone broke into a church, stole a truck, and led police on a chase resulting in a two-vehicle collision, Havre police Lt. George Tate said Tuesday.

Johnstone pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include driving under the influence.

The chase began shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday when police received a complaint about erratic driving on Fifth Avenue near Dairy Queen, Tate said. Two minutes later a woman reported a disturbance at a residence less than a block away, he said. The woman provided a description of a vehicle that matched that given by the previous caller, Tate added.

A police officer located the vehicle several moments later as it ran a stop sign and turned north on Fifth Avenue, Tate said. The vehicle, a 1986 Dodge pickup, had no lights on, he said.

The officer attempted to make a traffic stop, but the driver did not pull over, Tate said. Officers chased the truck as it turned west on Second Street, going about 35 mph, Tate said.

The truck headed north on Montana Avenue, then attempted to turn west on First Street, he said. At the intersection the truck collided with a 1977 GMC pickup that was headed east in the southern lane, Tate said.

The GMC sustained major damage, but driver Jeremy Morse and passenger Bobbie Trueax were not injured.

"The guy smashed us back into the median," said Trueax, who is a Havre Daily News employee. "Then he took off down First Street again. We got out to look at the (damage to Morse's pickup) and he came back down First Street."

Tate said the Dodge, still being pursued by police, turned around near the Cenex building, headed east on First Street and accelerated to speeds of about 50 mph, he said.

The fenders and bumper had been damaged in the crash, and were rubbing against the tires, creating a cloud of black smoke, Tate said.

The chase ended when the truck crashed into a fence along Main Street near the El Toro Inn, Tate said. The driver was arrested and identified as Johnstone, he said.

The truck was registered to a Havre man who told police it was stolen from his residence earlier in the evening, Tate said. The man lives within a block of where the woman had earlier reported the disturbance, Tate added.

Several electrical wires were protruding from the steering column, Tate said, indicating that Johnstone may have attempted to hot-wire the vehicle before he realized that the keys were in the ignition.

Johnstone was not injured the chase, but did have serious lacerations to his hand, Tate said.

Johnstone apparently was wounded while breaking into Hi-Line Christian Church prior to the car chase, Tate said. Johnstone adjusted a thermometer and dripped blood throughout the building, but did not steal anything, Tate added.

Tate said he did not know the motivation for the break-in.

Church officials could not be reached for comment.

Johnstone was treated at Northern Montana Hospital and taken to the Hill County Detention Center.

Johnstone was apparently working in the Havre area and staying at a motel, Tate said.

Johnstone is charged in City Court with negligent endangerment, DUI, speeding, two counts of criminal mischief, three counts of criminal trespass, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, reckless driving by eluding, failure to remain at the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident, as well as a stop sign violation.

 

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