A Bozeman man who allegedly led law enforcement on a high-speed chase early Saturday morning in his employer’s vehicle has been charged with a number of charges, including criminal endangerment and minor in possession of intoxicating substances.
Thad Michael Lynn, 19, is facing a $100,000 bond after being seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday. Lynn was charged with criminal endangerment, fleeing/eluding a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer, minor in possession, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, stop sign violation, open container and no seat belt.
Prosecutors said Lynn has three previous DUIs, two in 2017 and one in 2018.
According to charging documents, on Saturday, April 11 at approximately 2:40 a.m. a Montana Highway Patrol trooper on West Main Street saw a lifted, newer model black pickup at West College rapidly accelerate through the intersection and over steer and nearly spin out on the roadway.
The trooper activated emergency lights and attempted to catch up to the vehicle, which turned south onto Harmon Stream Boulevard and sped up.
The pursuit was joined by local law enforcement units from Montana Highway Patrol, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the Bozeman Police Department. The vehicle continued traveling eastbound on W. Garfield Street up to speeds exceeding 100 mph. It then turned southbound onto S. 19th Ave. while reportedly maintaining speeds between 90 and 100 mph. It then turned east on Kagy Blvd to Bozeman Trail Road maintaining high rates of speed.
Officers made an unsuccessful stop stick deployment near the I90 interchange, but the vehicle continued to travel onto Haggerty Lane to Bozeman Trail Road and continued toward the Bear Canyon interchange of I90.
Stop sticks on Bozeman Trail Road near Bear Canyon Road successfully punctured several tires on the pickup which then headed east on I90.
Several of the tires reportedly began to unravel as the driver, later identified as Lynn, attempted to reach interstate speeds. Eventually, the driver continued to drive the vehicle on rims that broke apart as the pursuit continued.
According to the trooper, it became apparent that the driver had difficulty maintaining control over the vehicle as it fishtailed all over the lanes of the roadway. The pickup finally came to a stop when the driver lost control and spun out into the median near mile marker 321 on I90.
Lynn reportedly fled on foot from the vehicle and ran toward the Montana Department of Transportation lot at the top of Bozeman Hill. Officers pursued the man but lost sight of him.
Three other occupants of the vehicle were detained and one identified Lynn as the driver.
The passenger told the trooper that they were coming from a party at “the Block” apartments on Kagy Blvd. when Lynn showed up to the party and offered to for a drive in his new truck. The two women in the truck told the trooper they did not really know Lynn and after getting into the pickup Lynn immediately started drifting and speeding around Bozeman. One of the women reported she was very scared for her safety and called 911 during the pursuit. Park County dispatch confirmed they received a 911 call from the woman who said she screamed at the driver to let her out after the pursuit started. She said she didn’t want to lose her life “over this sh#t.”
Lynn was located at his residence shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday. He denied being involved in the whole incident and told the trooper he was at the party but left early with “Chad”. He also told law enforcement that one of the passengers was the one that took the truck.
When contacted, the owner of the truck confirmed the vehicle was part of a fleet that he operates and the vehicle was reported as missing that morning from the shop where it was supposed to be.
The owner confirmed that Lynn worked for one of his companies and did not have permission to operate the vehicle.
Lynn’s next court appearance is set for May 1, 2020.