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Two men arrested after fleeing a crash and leading law enforcement on a nearly 7-hour manhunt near Melrose

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Posted at 1:12 PM, Jul 22, 2022

Two men were arrested in the Melrose area on Thursday, July 21, 2022 after leading law enforcement on a nearly seven-hour-long manhunt.

The Beaverhead County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that 28-year-old Antonio Baca Ramirez Jr. of Thompson Falls and 27-year-old Stephen Goodman of Missoula were apprehended separately after they fled a rollover crash on I-15 around 8 a.m. on Thursday.

The release said the crash happened on I-15 southbound near Moose Creek Hill. Ramirez and Goodman were reportedly picked up by a passerby and dropped off in Melrose.

Around 9 a.m., the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) and deputies with the Sheriff's Office responded to a report of two suspicious men that were looking in cars at the Salmon Fly Campground/Fishing Access just outside of Melrose. The two men had fled to the wooded area near the campground before law enforcement arrived.

Officers pursued the men but could not locate them in the dense, wooded area. An MHP Special Response Team was called in, along with two tracking K9s to continue the pursuit. Ramirez was located and turned himself. He was transported to Butte by ambulance for treatment of injuries sustained in the rollover crash. He was later released to Adult Probation and Parole.

Beaverhead County dispatch received a call around 3 p.m. on Thursday from a local rancher who said he located Goodman near his residence. The rancher held Goodman at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived, according to the release. He was arrested and also taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries.

Goodman was found to have escaped a pre-release detention center in Oregon and had a nationwide arrest warrant issued by the U.S. Marshals Service.

A total of 25 personnel from the Sheriff's Office, MHP, and federal law enforcement, along with four K9s and two man-powered drones, were involved in the search.

The Sheriff's Office thanked both law enforcement and "the helpful citizens of Melrose who lent a hand" in locating and arresting Ramirez and Goodman.