(UPDATE 9:00 PM)
Law enforcement officers are still looking for the suspect in a high-speed chase that ended near a mobile home park northeast of Helena Wednesday afternoon.
Residents of the Leisure Village Mobile Home Community were stuck outside the complex for more than an hour while authorities looked for John Finley Jr.
The chase started around 2:30 p.m., with a traffic stop at the intersection of 11th Avenue and Roberts Street in Helena. Assistant police chief Steve Hagen says officers tried to stop Finley when they saw him driving on the wrong side of the road. Instead, Hagen says Finley sped off.
Officers say they followed Finley into the Helena Valley. The chase reached reported speeds of 80 miles an hour.
Charles Pulse was turning onto Wylie Drive when he saw the speeding vehicles in front of him.
“All of a sudden, the car went around another pickup on the shoulder in the dirt and took off down Wylie Drive,” Pulse said.
Officers called off the chase when it approached a residential area. Hagen says it became too dangerous for the public.
Montana Highway Patrol troopers eventually found Finley’s vehicle in Leisure Village, outside a home in the 2900 block of Melrose Road.
“Ultimately we searched that residence; nobody was found inside,” said Sgt. Chris Weiss of the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
Weiss says authorities also searched another house in the neighborhood without finding Finley. After that, they cleared out of Leisure Village and allowed residents back in just after 4:30.
Authorities say Finley had several outstanding warrants for his arrest, and he failed to appear for a sentencing hearing in an unrelated drug case.
Finley is described as six feet tall and slender. He was last seen wearing a black baseball cap. Investigators are asking people to keep their eyes open for him, but say he isn’t a threat to the public.
Investigators say there was also a woman in the car with Finley, and the two may be together. However, Helena police say the woman herself is not wanted at this time.
(UPDATE 5:00 P.M.) 2:30 p.m. HPD tried to make a traffic stop on John Shannon Finley, who had outstanding warrants for his arrest.
The traffic stop turned into a chase, reaching speeds up to 80 mph.
The chase was called off around the airport.
Later, MHP spotted Finley and followed him into Leisure Village. They found his vehicle in front of a residence in the 2900 block of Melrose. They searched that house and another inside the neighborhood, but found no sign.
He is still at large. Sheriff’s office is looking for him, but doesn’t believe he is a threat to the public at this time.
(UPDATE 4:53 P.M.) Police have confirmed that the suspect in Wednesday’s search in Leisure Village was John Shannon Finley.
Finley is still at large, but the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office said he is not a threat to the public.
More information will be available soon we will update you as details emerge.
(UPDATE 4:39 P.M.) MHP has confirmed that they were searching for suspect in the Leisure Park Mobile Community on Wednesday afternoon.
No one is in custody at this time and the name of the suspect has not yet been released.
MHP is expected to make a statement shortly. The officers did tell our reporter on scene that they will soon be letting traffic back into the park.
(UPDATE) MHP is allowing traffic out of Leisure Village, but is stopping cars to talk with drivers.
HELENA – Highway patrol is on scene at Leisure Village Mobile Home Community off of York Road.
No one is currently allowed in or out.
Expect delays if you are driving in the area.
KTVH has a reporter on the scene. One witness said a car chase ended inside the trailer park.
No other information is known at this time. We will update you as we know more information.