HELENA — Law enforcement officers credit excellent interagency cooperation to ending a high-speed pursuit that began outside of Craig and entered Helena.
Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told MTN they received a call to dispatch around 10:00 a.m. from a woman saying her car had been stolen at the Craig Frontage Road and Bridge Street.
“She was doing some photography. Got out, was gone for about 40 minutes, came back and her car was gone,” explained Dutton.
A Lewis and Clark County sergeant headed that way on I-15 and encountered the stolen vehicle around mile marker 222 heading southbound. Once a backup deputy arrived, the sergeant activated his lights. Rather than pulling over, the driver increased speed.
“Speeds went up to 90-95 miles an hour (the speed limit is 80), the person attempted to allude,” said Dutton. “There was a camper and another person [the driver] did put in danger at one time.”
Meanwhile in the Helena Valley, Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) and the Helena Police Department (HPD) were setting up spike strips with the three agencies coordinating.
An MHP spike strip managed to get one of the vehicle’s tires by the Lincoln Road exit, but the vehicle continued southbound on I-15 with one tire out.
HPD officers were able to get spike strips on all lanes and exits by the Custer Ave exit, which blew the remaining three tires. The vehicle proceeded to the Target parking lot before coming to a stop.
“They ordered him out. He got out and then began acting erratically, demanding that they shoot him, that they kill him and was not following commands,” explained Dutton. “They got close enough to deploy a taser and he went down. After that the fight was over... The individual claimed he had a cardiac issue and he was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital”
Winchester Wiseman, 41, was arrested and charged with felony theft and felony criminal endangerment. His last address was listed in Missoula according to law enforcement.
Dutton said Wiseman did not have any weapons on him when officers took him into custody.
“This was a good coordinated effort from the sergeant that first saw him, Sgt. Bradley Bragg, who first set up the team to make sure the public was not in danger,” said Dutton. “They took into consideration where he’d be going, who he’d be endangering and had plans for that should he continue through town.”
Dutton would also like to stress to the public to always take the keys out of your vehicle and make sure belongings are not within reach or visible whenever a vehicle is left for any period of time.