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DEER LODGE -- A Utah woman pleaded not guilty in Deer Lodge district court this week to charges stemming from an early-morning high speed chase by law enforcement while she had children in her vehicle.

Chyanne O’Connor, 31, of Santa Clara was charged with felony criminal child endangerment and criminal endangerment and misdemeanor charges of obstructing a peace officer, eluding a peace officer, and speeding. She faces up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 fines for each of the felony charges. She is free on $20,000 bond with conditions.

According to court records, at 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 10, a Deer Lodge police officer was dispatched to investigate a complaint of a person operating a motor vehicle while on drugs. When the officer stopped the defendant at a north Main Street business, he observed her eyes were bloodshot and she seemed to be impaired. As the officer returned to his vehicle to check her driver’s license and registration, O’Connor drove away and onto the interstate highway westbound. The officer pursued the vehicle at speeds exceeding 110 mph. The defendant allegedly passed vehicles and pulled back into the driving lane immediately in front of semi-trucks. She left the highway at the Jens exit, at the border of Powell and Granite counties, and headed south on the county road at excessive speed. The officer broke off the pursuit because he was not familiar with the roads.

The record indicates that at 10 a.m. dispatch received a call from a Jens resident saying a vehicle was in his hay field where it stopped after crossing a center pivot ditch and he was getting a gun to respond. The vehicle description matched the one in the pursuit. Officers located O’Connor and two children hiding in a draw behind the ranch house. After being returned to the roadway, O’Connor allegedly attempted to run and was apprehended. Her young daughter and nephew were placed with a Child Protective Services worker.

In other court action:

• Frank Philip Hiltz, 22, of Deer Lodge appeared on a petition to revoke his six-year deferred sentence charging him with 10 probation violations. At the request of his attorney, Judge Ray Dayton entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Hiltz to allow time for an evaluation to determine his ability to proceed. He is in jail on $30,000 bond.

On May 9, 2017, Hiltz was given a six-year deferred sentence for sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl with 44 conditions while under the supervision of the Adult Probation and Parole Bureau. If the deferred sentence is revoked, he could be sentenced from four to 100 years or life in prison.

According to court records, he is accused of failure to notify a probation officer when fired from his job, pay fines and fees, and get a chemical dependency evaluation. He was required to enter a sexual offender treatment program but was terminated for inappropriate behavior that makes him no longer appropriate for an intensive outpatient sex offender program. Hiltz was to have no contact with the victim but on Aug. 16 and 17 allegedly had unauthorized contact that was deemed harassment. He is accused of repeatedly violating the condition to have no contact with individuals under age 18 without an adult present and from going to places where minors gather – parks, malls, theaters, etc. He allegedly had sexual relations with females ages 16 and 17 at Jaycee Park and “sexted” a 15-year-old. He is prohibited from having access to pornography or in his possession, from having access to the internet without consent of his probation officer, and from having a cell phone with internet or photographic data without permission, all of which he allegedly did.

• Jaren L. Hitchcock, aka J.L. Coleman, 21, of Deer Lodge pleaded guilty to indecent exposure to a minor, a felony. He admitted sending a photo of his genitals to a 13-year-old Powell County girl. Judge Dayton ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Hitchcock could be sentenced from four to 100 years in prison and fined up to $50,000. He is free on $50,000 bond.

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