Kalispell Man Arrested After Leading Police in High-Speed Chase

Law enforcement deployed SWAT team, helicopter to find man after he fled on foot

By Justin Franz

A 32-year-old transient living in the Kalispell area has been arrested after leading police on a high-speed pursuit on March 19.

Ernest Pattee has been charged with obstructing a peace officer, bail jumping, criminal endangerment, resisting arrest and revocation of a suspended sentence. He is currently being held in the Flathead County Detention Center.

According to the Kalispell Police Department, law enforcement received a report of a suspicious vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Responding officers located the vehicle, which had been reported stolen the previous day, and found a male and female inside.

Officers asked the couple to step out of the vehicle but they initially refused. The female eventually got out but Pattee still refused to exit. After repeatedly asking Pattee to exit the vehicle, an officer broke a window but before they were able to get hold of the man, Pattee started the truck and drove off.

Kalispell officers followed the vehicle throughout the Kalispell area before being joined by deputies from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement followed Pattee to Von Der Heide Lane near Kila where he ditched the vehicle and ran on foot. The vehicle soon burst into flames, with the fire located in the engine compartment.

The SWAT team and Two Bear Helicopter were deployed to aid in the search for Pattee who was found two hours later in a creek. He was placed under arrest and treated for hypothermia.

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