An alleged car thief led Beaverhead County authorities on a high speed chase Thursday afternoon on Interstate 15 south of Dillon. He allegedly crossed the median several times and drove into oncoming traffic.
The man, identified as Ryan Allan Bell, 20, of Red Deer, Alberta, eventually abandoned the vehicle in a field and tried to flee on foot.
Authorities arrested him in an irrigation ditch without incident.
Beaverhead County Sheriff Jay Hansen released the following details of the incident on Thursday evening:
On June 21, 2012, at approximately 2:30 p.m., officers with the Dillon Police Department were called to investigate a report of theft of a motor vehicle in progress.
As officers were responding, additional information from witnesses indicated that the suspect had driven a short distance before abandoning the stolen motor vehicle. Witnesses informed officers of the suspect’s physical description and provided a description of another motor vehicle in which the suspect had escaped.
Approximately 20 minutes later, officers again received another report of a motor vehicle being stolen from the Safeway parking lot in Dillon.
Dillon police officers and Beaverhead County deputies responded to search for the stolen 1998 Black Nissan Frontier pick-up truck. A short time later, Beaverhead County authorities located the stolen truck traveling southbound on Interstate 15, approximately five miles south of Dillon and attempted to initiate a traffic stop.
The suspect and only occupant of the truck, later identified as Ryan Allan Bell, 20, of Red Deer, Alberta, refused to drive to the shoulder of the interstate and stop, but increased speed to elude responding deputies. Bell disregarded the safety of others by crossing the interstate median three times, and driving into oncoming traffic.
Bell ultimately drove the stolen truck onto Highway 278 for a short distance before diverting into a field where Bell left the truck and attempted to escape arrest on foot. Bell was located in an adjacent pasture’s irrigation ditch and arrested without further incident.
Bellis being held in the Beaverhead County Detention Center in Dillon. He will be charged on Friday with two counts of Motor Vehicle Theft, Criminal Mischief, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Endangerment, and Possession of Dangerous Drugs.
There may be further charges from Lewis and Clark County authorities.