HELENA — Winchester Wiseman has been arrested after allegedly stealing a vehicle and leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase that began near Craig and ended in Helena on Monday, September 6, 2021.
Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told MTN that dispatchers received a call at around 10 a.m. on Monday from a woman who said 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 Sheriff's Office sergeant headed that way on I-15 and saw the stolen vehicle southbound near mile marker 222. Once a backup deputy arrived, the sergeant activated his lights. Rather than pulling over, the driver increased speed.
“Speeds went up to 90 to 95 miles an hour (the speed limit is 80), the person attempted to elude,” said Dutton. “There was a camper and another person [the driver] did put in danger at one time.”
Meanwhile in the Helena Valley, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Helena Police Department 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 south on I-15 with one tire out.
HPD officers were able to get spike strips on all lanes and exits by the Custer Avenue 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”
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.”
Wiseman, 41 years old, was arrested and charged with felony theft and felony criminal endangerment. According to the Montana Department of Corrections, Wiseman was on probation at the time of Monday's incident.
According to the Montana Department of Corrections, Wiseman's criminal history includes convictions in Teton County for criminal possession of dangerous drugs and operation of a clandestine drug laboratory; Cascade County for criminal possession of dangerous drugs, assault on a peace officer, and operation of a clandestine drug laboratory; in Ravalli County for theft; in Missoula County for criminal possession of dangerous drugs and failure to register as a violent offender; and Yellowstone County for criminal possession of dangerous drugs.
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.