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MHP trooper struck by vehicle during police chase

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | February 16, 2023 6:25 AM

A Montana Highway Patrol trooper is reported to be in stable condition at a Kalispell hospital after being run over by the suspect vehicle during a police chase Thursday afternoon in northern Lincoln County.

According to information from MHP and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, county Sheriff’s deputies became involved in a vehicle pursuit of a man with several outstanding felony warrants.

The chase ended about 10 miles southwest of Eureka off Montana 37 in the Camp Creek Road area, 1.5 miles north of Lake Koocanusa Bridge.

Montana Highway Patrol was assisting in the chase that began at about 2:36 p.m. The trooper was airlifted to Logan Health in Kalispell.

The people in the vehicle were all apprehended. Just before 5 p.m., a red-haired woman wearing blue pants and a dark-colored jacket was led, handcuffed, out of the woods by a county officer and placed in a patrol vehicle.

An officer used a drone to record possible evidence at the scene.

The identities of the suspects as well as the trooper have not been released yet.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines voiced words of support for the officer in an email Thursday evening.

“Terrible news," U.S. Senator Steve Daines said. "Praying for a speedy and full recovery for the Montana Highway Patrol trooper who was injured this afternoon while serving their community.”

He was joined by state Attorney General Austin Knudsen and MHP Col. Steve Lavin who encouraged Montanans to join in prayer for injured MHP trooper.

“Please join me in praying for our Montana Highway Patrol trooper who was seriously injured while apprehending suspects fleeing law enforcement today," Knudsen said in a statement. "I'm thankful for our Montana law enforcement officers who put on their uniform every day not knowing what dangers they may face.”

For Col. Lavin, it was a harsh reminder of the dangers faced by law officers.

“Our hearts go out to our MHP trooper and all law enforcement involved in today’s vehicle pursuit. This is a harsh reminder of the dangers we face in our jobs as law enforcement officers," Lavin said. "I have no doubt the citizens of our great state will join with me in prayer for our trooper, the MHP family and all law enforcement in this trying time.”

The Montana Department of Justice Department of Criminal Investigation has been requested to lead the investigation. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office as well as MHP will be assisting.

Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short said more information will be released soon.

Officers from the U.S. Border Patrol and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks also assisted in the incident.

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Crime scene tape is strung across a forest road at the scene of police chase on Montana Highway 37 that ended with a Montana Highway Patrol trooper being struck by the suspect vehicle. (Scott Shindledecker/The Western News)

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Law officers from several agencies were at the scene where a Montana Highway Patrol trooper was struck by a suspect vehicle during a police chase on Montana Highway 37 near Lake Koocanusa Bridge. (Scott Shindledecker/The Western News)

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Tire tracks were visible in the soft ground Thursday evening off Montana Highway 37 near Camp Creek Road in northern Lincoln County where a police chase ended. A Montana Highway Patrol trooper was struck by the suspect vehicle and airlifted to Logan Health in Kalispell. (Scott Shindledecker/The Western News)