The driver of a silver Hyundai Elantra believed to have fled from law enforcement three times since Saturday night was arrested Sunday evening after his car became high-centered on snow in a laundromat parking lot.
Troopers with the Montana Highway Patrol are asked to make a judgment call about pursuits within city limits, weighing the risk to the public versus the need to apprehend a suspect, said Trooper Kirk Robbins. Sunday evening when Robbins spotted the vehicle for what he said may have been the third time since last week, he decided to keep going. Speeds during the pursuit may have reached 75 mph, Robbins said.
"This time last night he took off. This morning he fled from police again. So I saw him again today and we pursued him," Robbins said. "This has continued to go on. This guy has shown a pattern that he's going to continue to run from police, to endanger people's lives and he's shown a complete disregard for law enforcement and public safety."
Robbins explained that Saturday night as the Elantra fled from him he witnessed nearly hit another car while going 70 mph through a red light at the intersection at South 27th Street and State Avenue. Sunday night he said the car struck a pole at one point and was recklessly passing vehicles.
The pursuit began at the Vegas Hotel on Belknap Avenue in Billings, went through multiple streets through a more eastern portion of the West End and lasted roughly between 10 and 15 minutes, the trooper said.
After the vehicle turned into a small parking lot on the north end of the B.Y.O. Laundromat and got stuck, Robbins said that MHP troopers used their vehicles to block him in and then approached the driver with weapons drawn. "We basically swarmed the vehicle," Robbins said. The man was sitting in the driver's seat and surrendered, according to Robbins.
The passenger car was finally stopped sometime around 6 p.m. and the driver was the only person inside. His injuries were being examined by medical professionals, as MHP continued to investigate the incident, but Robbins said the injuries did not appear to be serious.
MHP was trying to determine if the vehicle was stolen and could not find its registration immediately, Robbins said. A series of numbers in large-type on what looked to be paper could be seen obscuring what appeared to be an Ohio license plate beneath.