High-speed chase suspect

A Highway Patrol trooper talks with the suspect of a high-speed chase on South 27th Street and Fourth Avenue South on Wednesday.

BRONTE WITTPENN, Gazette staff

A man suspected in a Wednesday afternoon stabbing has been charged in a high-speed chase later that day that ended near downtown Billings.

Jerome Kyle Bellymule, 22, appeared on Thursday in Yellowstone County Justice Court on three counts of criminal endangerment and one count of theft, all felonies. Bellymule also faces a misdemeanor count of aggravated driving under the influence, first offense.

Justice of the Peace Pedro Hernandez set bond at $100,000.

Bellymule is accused of leading officers on a high-speed pursuit on busy streets that ended with patrol cars surrounding and ramming the suspect vehicle at South 27th Street and Fourth Avenue South.

The vehicle Bellymule was driving was a 2002 Chevy Silverado, which had been reported stolen around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, according to charges.

Bellymule was in the car with a 14- or 15-year-old girl, charges state.

The pursuit began when an officer saw a truck driving south on South Billings Boulevard that matched the description of the stolen vehicle. The officer suspected the truck was involved in other crimes, including a stabbing, and followed the truck east onto Moore Lane and then Laurel Road.

When the truck pulled into the parking lot of the Parkway Motel, the officer activated emergency lights but Bellymule sped up, charges state.

The chase took several turns onto area streets, swerving in and out of oncoming traffic and driving through a parking lot at 35-40 mph, charges state. At one point, Bellymule turned onto King Avenue East and drove up onto the sidewalk to get around stalled traffic.

The pursuing officer stopped following Bellymule on South Billings Boulevard near Midland Road.

The chase later resumed when Bellymule was driving north on Blue Creek Road. Troopers with the Montana Highway Patrol were alerted to the truck and began following Bellymule as he gained speed, while others set up a spike strip north of the chase at Garden Avenue and South 27th Street.

Bellymule crossed the spike strip, puncturing the truck’s right-side tires, but continued driving north on South 27th Street toward downtown.

Bellymule tried to turn left onto Fourth Avenue South when he was rammed by an MHP car, spinning the truck to face a lawn in front of some apartments, MHP Sgt. Tony Beehler said.

The suspect drove onto the lawn, after which he was rammed at least two more times by MHP patrol cars. At that point the truck appeared to be failing, Beehler said. Four troopers surrounded the car.

"We jumped out with guns, and at that point it was done," Beehler said.

Bellymule is also suspected to be involved in a stabbing that took place Wednesday afternoon.

At about 12:30 p.m. security camera footage from a local business showed the stolen truck driving up alongside a man walking on the 1600 block of Second Avenue North, according to Billings Police Department Lt. Brian Korell.

One person got out of the pickup and attacked the man walking. The victim ran to the parking lot of the Lewis and Clark Inn, at which point the truck left. Officers found him there bleeding from his arm and with a slash wound on his abdomen. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Korell said the victim was uncooperative and that it did not appear the attack was random.

When interviewed by law enforcement, the teen passenger in the truck during the pursuits said she had been with Bellymule and another man earlier when the men stabbed another man in an alleyway. She said they later stole vehicles.

After being arrested, Bellymule gave a breath sample of 0.168, or roughly twice the legal limit, according to charges. He denied stealing the truck, saying a friend had given it to him, but he did confirm he was the driver in the earlier pursuits.

Officers saw blood inside the stolen truck when the chase ended, charges state. Bellymule had a cut on his hand, which he later told a jail nurse was due to him protecting himself while someone tried to stab him.

After the pursuit ended and Bellymule had been handcuffed, he tried unsuccessfully to slip his handcuffs in front of him and to get a bystander to let him out of the car, charges state.

Bellymule was treated at Billings Clinic for the wound.

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Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.