Crime

Man Who Led Cops on Pursuit in Stolen Truck Charged with Two Felonies

Jesse Lee Dean arrested after law enforcement used spike strips, PIT maneuver to disable truck Monday night

By Andy Viano
A Flathead County Sheriff's Office vehicle. Beacon file photo

A 32-year-old man who stole a truck from a Hungry Horse gas station and led law enforcement on a high-speed chase down U.S. Highway 93 on Monday night has been charged with two felonies in Flathead County District Court.

Jesse Lee Dean is in custody at the Flathead County Detention Center, charged with criminal endangerment and felony theft. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on June 17.

According to charging documents, Dean stole a Dodge Ram pickup from a gas station and convenience store in Hungry Horse a little after 10:15 p.m. Monday night. Minutes later, a Columbia Falls Police officer spotted the stolen truck traveling westbound on U.S. Highway 2 and attempted to pull it over. The driver, later identified as Dean, did not stop and continued driving into Whitefish before turning southbound on U.S. 93.

A corporal with the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) then attempted a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuver to stop the truck but backed off after believing Dean was trying to ram his vehicle. The pursuit reached speeds of 85 miles per hour before Flathead County deputies deployed spike strips to deflate the truck’s tires. A different MHP trooper then successfully used a PIT maneuver near the Flathead County Landfill, sending the truck into a spin, at which point Dean allegedly accelerated and crashed into an MHP vehicle before being apprehended.

Dean pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of dangerous drugs in December and was released from custody earlier this month to await trial. His total bail is currently set at $65,000.

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