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Prosecutor says Billings man crashed into gym, then hid from police in dumpster

Posted at 3:28 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 18:29:02-05

BILLINGS- A Billings man appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court Monday, charged with several felony counts of criminal endangerment for allegedly crashing his vehicle into a Billings Heights gym.

Chase Barnes, 31, was named in charging documents obtained from Yellowstone County Justice Court.

Over the weekend, Billings police officerstweeted that a DUI driver struck another vehicle in the Heights then ran his vehicle into the Anytime Fitness building on Main Street.

A person working out in the Anytime Fitness on Friday told police he was inside the gym when a vehicle came crashing through the wall. The driver, who was later identified as Barnes, was reportedly ramming the building.

The occupant inside was forced to jump back from where he was working out to avoid being struck by flying cement.

Before that, another witness told police her SUV was rammed in the parking lot as she waited for her boyfriend to get off work. She reportedly heard a scream and then felt her car hit from behind.

She told police the vehicle continued to push her vehicle forward as she tried to maneuver the car away from hitting a nearby pole.

Police said Barnes later crashed his tan Ford Excursion onto a snow bank on the south side of the Heights Wal-Mart parking lot. The vehicle went through a fence and uprooted a tree.

Barnes allegedly fled and the car was found smoking. He told police he ran and jumped into a dumpster to hide.

Barnes told police that he was drinking Black Velvet and he got upset and crashed his car into what he thought was a fire hydrant.

Barnes is listed on the jail roster in Yellowstone County.