by Travis Mateer
Until this morning I thought there were only TWO car chases this past week. Then, after perusing the local headlines, I realized there were THREE car chases this week, two of them fatal.
The first car chase resulted in the arrest of Katrina Storms after law enforcement saw her allegedly run a red light.
She led officers into Ravalli County where Missoula County and Ravalli County sheriffs were able to stop her near Bass Creek Road off of Highway 93.
No injuries have been reported.
The car had Oregon license plates and was not stolen. According the the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, no drugs or weapons where found in the vehicle.
The second car chase resulted in a man dying in a pond near my kids school. This one is being investigated by DCI because how exactly does a man in a pond drown as law enforcement is standing around?
Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Lydia Arnold says the incident began on 11th Street West after the driver failed to stop for a routine traffic stop. Law enforcement lost sight of the vehicle for a short period of time before the vehicle was then spotted by officers, according to Arnold.
The driver eventually stopped in the Target Range neighborhood before he eventually drove off once again. Arnold says MPD then decided to terminate the pursuit. However, officers later saw a male get out of the vehicle after it crashed into a pond at a quarry behind the elementary school.
Arnold says officers gave verbal commands to the driver as he started swimming in the water away from police. The male went underwater and a Missoula County Search and Rescue dive team eventually located his body.
So, another traffic stop that turned into a dangerous pursuit by law enforcement. Fantastic. What kind of “routine” traffic stop was this? The article doesn’t say.
The third car chase apparently happened last Wednesday night and resulted in the death of the 17 year old passenger. The 20 year old driver, Kemari D. Parks, is being held on charges of vehicular homicide. From the link:
A Missoula officer was on patrol near Orange Street and West Broadway around 11:37 p.m. Wednesday evening. While stopped at a traffic light, the officer noticed a white Honda Civic driving at a high speed eastbound on West Broadway — the speed was estimated to be around 60 or 70 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to charging documents filed Friday.
Police attempted to make a traffic stop, but the car made a quick turn onto Higgins Avenue and the officer lost sight of the car. Dispatch received a call a few minutes later reporting a white car driving on Main Street in the wrong direction. The officer believed this was the same car.
After finding the drunk driver again, police resumed their efforts, which resulted in this happening:
The car started to bounce and fishtail and struck a parked car on the north side of the road near Myrtle Street on South Fifth Street West, causing Parks’ car to spin and strike several more cars, the documents said. The passenger side of Parks’ car hit the parked vehicle, causing significant damage.
It eventually came to a rest at the 200 block of South Fifth Street West, between Myrtle and Hazel streets, a residential area. One witness reported Parks’ car was going up to 100 miles per hour.
Parks got out of the car and fled the scene on foot.
Officers caught up to him as he was trying to jump a fence into the backyard of a house. He refused officer commands to get on the ground and continued to approach the officer, who deployed his Taser, which was ineffective, but prompted Parks to sit on the ground with his hands in the air, charging documents said.
Parks was taken into custody — officers determined he was on felony probation for a criminal endangerment charge. Law enforcement detected alcohol on Parks’ person while they were talking with him.
Police discovered the passenger in Parks’ car to have suffered severe injuries in the crash. He was unconscious, bleeding from multiple wounds and was exhibiting “agonal” breathing. He was transported to Providence St. Patrick Hospital, where he died from his injuries early Thursday morning. He was 17.
So, after three car chases this past week, two people are dead and two people are arrested. Lovely.
In other news Montana’s AG, Austin Knudsen, is going to be investigated for allegedly bullying hospital officials in Helena over patient access to medication. This will be quite a story as it develops. From the link:
Republican leaders in the Legislature have approved a Democratic request for an investigation into the Montana Department of Justice’s involvement in a complaint made by the family of a COVID-19 patient at a Helena hospital.
St. Peter’s Health said last week that three public officials threatened to use their positions to force doctors and nurses to treat the patient with ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasites.
Senate President Mark Blasdel says the hospital has made serious allegations, and he and House Speaker Wylie Galt agreed to the request for the investigation.
The hospital didn’t name the public officials, but the Attorney General’s Office confirmed their involvement.
We will be discussing these issues and more in today’s episode of Zoom Town, so stay tuned.