Sergeant describes Park County standoff with knife-wielding woman

Posted at 1:45 PM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 15:45:36-04

A standoff in the middle of Highway 89 near Livingston ended on Saturday with a Park County Sheriff’s Sergeant tasing a knife-wielding woman.

In Sergeant Brad Bichler’s 15 years in law enforcement, he knows you can’t tell how a day is going to end by how it starts. it was certainly true this past weekend.

"Just a nice summer day, and bad things can happen just that quickly. So we have to be prepared for that all the time," Bichler said.

Around 11 a.m. on Saturday, a 911 dispatcher said a woman called claiming demons were chasing her and she needed to get back to Georgia.

A Park County Sheriff’s Deputy tried to pull the 47-year-old woman over but she refused to stop. A low-speed chase ensued, and authorities say the driver was weaving back and forth between oncoming traffic on the two-lane highway.

Backup was called, including Livingston Police and Fish, Wildlife and Parks law enforcement. Officers say when they tried to box her in, she tried to hit an officer.

“She didn’t actually strike the vehicle, just made a pretty good run at it and he was able to get the door closed because she got by, so pretty tense situation there,” said Bichler.

When authorities say she finally did stop, it was in the middle of the highway and she got out holding a large hunting knife. Officers say she was threatening them and herself.

“I tried to talk with her, but she was up and down. She would settle herself a bit and then ramp back up again. We went back and forth for quite some time, and it became very apparent she wasn’t just gonna comply and come along with us,” Bichler said.

That’s when Sergeant Bichler says he made a quick move to get closer and tase her.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office said lethal force was warranted multiple times, but the ways things turned out was the best ending for a bad situation.  

“I think was as positive of an outcome as it could’ve been,” Bichler said.

The woman is from Washington, according to authorities. Her name has not been released and she has not been charged. She was taken to Billings and is being held on a medical detainer awaiting a mental health evaluation.