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Car chase on interstate ends with flipped vehicle, police say

Car chase on interstate ends with flipped vehicle, police say


Police say a 41-year-old Butte woman was arrested for felony assault and multiple other charges Sunday afternoon after she allegedly struck a law-enforcement vehicle, bit an officer who was trying to apprehend her and flipped her vehicle on the interstate while allegedly trying to flee.

Undersheriff George Skuletich said police responded around 2 p.m., Sunday, to a residence on the 1100 block of West Silver Street after receiving a call about a family dispute.

When officers arrived, Skuletich said, the residents said they wished for Sally Stearns, 41, of Butte to leave the residence.

The 41-year-old agreed to leave and got into her vehicle with her dog, a German Shepherd.

But as she drove away, Skuletich said, she hit officers’ vehicle and headed west on Silver Street.

According to the undersheriff, officers pursued Stearns and were able to pull her over on the corner of Platinum and Montana Streets, where Stearns got out of her vehicle. Moments later, Skuletich said, Stearns got back into her vehicle as an officer tried to remove her from her car, but the 41-year-old allegedly bit him on the arm and once again left the scene in her vehicle.

After allegedly biting the officer, Skuletich said, Stearns continued on Montana Street and got onto Interstate 90, heading west, where she continued to evade police, driving “erratically” and passing other motorists on a snow-packed and icy roadway.

Also responding, Skuletich said, was Montana Highway Patrol, who got out ahead of the fleeing vehicle and laid out spike strips.

But before getting to the spike strips, Stearns allegedly lost control of her vehicle, which left the roadway and flipped one half turn, landing on its top. Police then apprehended Stearns, who Skuletich said was not injured. The dog wasn’t injured either, he added, and has subsequently been taken to an animal shelter by Butte animal control.

Stearns was taken to St. James Healthcare and, after being medically cleared, was transported to the Butte county jail, where she has been cited with felony assault on a police officer, along with resisting arrest, criminal mischief and fleeing or eluding police.


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