Troy man faces 10 charges after Saturday night chase on Libby highway, roads

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Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fisher, left, and Libby Volunteer Fire Department First Assistant Scott Beagle examine a propane tank on Conifer Road in Libby Saturday night. The tank was hit by a vehicle whose driver was eluding law enforcement. (John Blodgett/The Western News)

By JOHN BLODGETT

The Western News

A Troy man was being held in Lincoln County Jail and facing 10 charges Monday after he evaded law enforcement — first by vehicle and then on foot — during a late Saturday incident in which he sped through neighborhoods, damaged vehicles and other property, and injured a Libby Police officer in a scuffle following a medical evaluation at the hospital.

Christian Eugene Crammer, 24, was booked into jail 2:49 a.m. Sunday after being arrested on suspicion of three felony charges of criminal mischief and seven misdemeanor charges that included reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and resisting arrest, according to an affidavit prepared by Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Holzer.

The chaotic incident began about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when Deputy Ben Fisher went to investigate a suspicious vehicle behind Ace Hardware in Libby, the affidavit states.

“I then heard Deputy Fisher state that the vehicle took off on him,” Holzer wrote.

Shortly after the driver sped away from Fisher, Holzer, by then driving through the parking lot at Henry's Restaurant, recognized Crammer as the driver.

At that point Holzer and Fisher turned on their lights and sirens to try to pull over Crammer, who failed to stop for the deputies. Instead, Holzer's affidavit states, Crammer turned right on Idaho Avenue “at a high rate of speed” and then turned left into Maple Avenue, where he crashed into a heavy duty pickup truck.

“Crammer stalled his vehicle at the crash and then regained power to his vehicle and accelerated onto Main Avenue back onto U.S. Highway 2,” Holzer wrote.

Crammer sped west on Highway 2, “where Deputy John Davis took lead pursuit.”

“Deputy Davis told me he was maxed out on his governor, which is approximately 105 MPH,” Holzer wrote.

Crammer soon turned left onto Vanderwood Road, where the flashing lights and sounds of sirens and squealing tires caused some residents to come outside to see what was going on in the normally quiet neighborhood.

Trailed by at least three deputies, Crammer took a series of turns, first onto Pioneer Road, then Montgomery Drive, Conifer Road and Dome Mountain Road.

“Crammer [then] took a left onto Granite Road and accelerated into Parmenter Ave[nue] where he spun his vehicle sideways and crashed into two vehicles parked in the driveway at 68 Parmenter Ave[nue],” Holzer wrote, noting that the crash “severely” damaged both vehicles and pushed one through a garage.

Crammer then “regained power to his vehicle and blacked out all his lighting equipment and sped through the end [of] Parmenter Ave.,” where he ran over three sections of a six-foot chain link fence, “severely damaging the property at 529 Conifer Road,” Holzer wrote.

Crammer next drove through another fence at 472 Conifer Rd., hit a propane tank and drove through another chain link fence before “disabling his vehicle in the back yard” and running away.

“I found Crammer hiding underneath a four wheeler in a back yard a couple houses down [and] less than 300 feet from his abandoned vehicle,” Holzer wrote.

Crammer was taken into custody and brought to Cabinet Peaks Medical Center for a medical evaluation.

In his affidavit, Holzer noted that he “observed Crammer to be extremely intoxicated” and that “suspected marijuana was removed from his pockets” during a search.

Holzer also wrote that Crammer “refused all [DUI] testing” that Fisher attempted at the hospital.

After being medically cleared and as he was about to be taken to jail, “Crammer stiffened his posture and kicked [Libby Police] Officer Chris Pape,” who “ended up wrestling Crammer outside the emergency room,” Holzer wrote.

Pape “received a large scratch and contusion to his left arm” before “deputies arrived and helped place Crammer into” Pape's car for transport to jail, Holzer wrote.

Shortly after Crammer's arrest, Scott Beagle of the Libby Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to check out the dislodged propane tank, which proved not to be a fire danger.

Crammer's bail was set at $100,000, according to court documents.

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