A 36-year-old Kalispell man has denied allegations that he threatened and robbed multiple people before leading police on a high-speed chase earlier this summer.
Conor Larkin McLean pleaded not guilty to two charges of assault with a weapon, and single counts of robbery, criminal mischief, criminal endangerment, theft and obstructing a peace officer during an arraignment in Flathead County District Court on Sept. 5. If convicted, he could face up to 60 years in prison.
According to court records, McClean stole a white pickup truck in Columbia Falls on June 25. Not long after, the Columbia Falls Police Department received a report of an armed robbery taking place near the Burger King along U.S. Highway 2. When police arrived, the victim said that a man had opened the door to his car, shoved a gun in his face and demanded his cell phone. The man then took off in the stolen truck.
Less than an hour later, a woman in Whitefish reported that she found a man trying to break into her car. The man was hitting the gas cap and screaming that people were trying to chase him. He later got into his truck and left. Just 15 minutes later, another call came in that the man same had pulled a gun on a Whitefish couple in their driveway. The couple ran and the man allegedly broke into their vehicle and stole a bag containing the woman’s wallet. McLean allegedly got back in the stolen truck and drove off.
Soon after, the vehicle was spotted by law enforcement and a chase ensued. Troopers with the Montana Highway Patrol reported that McLean was driving in excess of 70 miles per hour on residential roads in the Whitefish area. The chase eventually ended up on U.S. Highway 93 where McLean allegedly drove into the opposing lane, almost crashing into oncoming vehicles.
McLean allegedly drove off the road, into a ditch, through a fence and into a field. The vehicle eventually broke down and McLean fled on foot. Another officer drove after the man through the field, got ahead of him and aimed his gun at him. McLean was apprehended.
McLean is expected to stand trial sometime next year. He remains incarcerated in the Flathead County Detention Center.
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