A 42-year-old Kalispell man with a lengthy criminal history who allegedly stole a car last week was arrested Monday after leading authorities on a high-speed chase across the Flathead Valley. The pursuit, which involved authorities from multiple jurisdictions as well as a helicopter, ended in a field in Whitefish after officers say the suspect tried to run down a deputy and strangle a K9 unit pursuing him.
The suspect, Andy Wigner, was arrested for the alleged vehicle theft and the outstanding warrant while prosecutors review additional charges of criminal endangerment and attempted deliberate homicide.
According to a county spokesperson, Flathead County sheriff’s deputies spotted the stolen vehicle, which was reported to Kalispell police on Oct. 25, around Mountain Meadow Road south of Tally Lake shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday.
“The sheriff’s deputies responded to assist, and the vehicle accelerated and ran from sheriff’s deputies,” according to a press release from county officials.
The pursuit continued through Tally Lake Road, Star Meadows Road, Farm to Market Road, through Whitefish on U.S. Highway 93, east on Highway 40 and north on Dillon Road.
“Spike strips were attempted multiple times, and the subject drove directly at a deputy during one of these attempts, almost striking him,” the press release states.
The chase ended when the subject drove into a field located off Blue Herron Drive east of Whitefish, where a K9 unit was deployed to apprehend the suspect, who “attempted to choke the K9.”
The county spokesperson said the dog was uninjured.
Authorities identified the suspect as Wigner, a longtime Kalispell resident who has served time in the Montana State Prison on drug charges.
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office offered thanks to the Whitefish Police Department, Montana Highway Patrol, and Two Bear Air for assisting in Wigner’s arrest.
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