A work pickup stolen from a Billings construction company Tuesday was recovered later in the night after a pursuit that began in Stillwater County and ended at a West End roundabout with the vehicle spike-stripped and missing half its tires.
Dennis Moon, owner of Moon Construction, said he left the keys inside the truck for a quick stop into his South 29th Street West office early Tuesday night and came back outside a short while later to find it gone. It was not taken by any of his employees, he said.
Moon said he lives west of Laurel and that his wife Kelly Moon actually spotted the work truck as she was leaving their house. She followed the truck all the way to Park City.
The Stillwater County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Highway Patrol found the vehicle at Sportsman's Park in Laurel at about 7 p.m. and began following it.
The vehicle was speeding and driving erratically, said MHP Trooper Wade Palen.
After it entered Yellowstone County the vehicle was lost and later found again, said MHP Trooper Darvin Mees.
A trooper was able to deploy spike strips underneath the truck, puncturing the passenger side tires.
When the driver tried to navigate the roundabout at Shiloh and Monad, he lost control and spun out facing west in an eastbound lane at about 8 p.m. An MHP car was nose-to-nose with the truck.
Law enforcement began to surround the vehicle and the driver ran on foot. An MHP trooper shot the driver with a stun gun but there was no apparent effect, Palen said.
After a brief foot chase the driver was arrested. Mees described the passenger and driver as men roughly in their mid 20s.
The investigation is ongoing, but Palen said there is suspicion the driver may have been under the influence. The Billings Police Department and the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office assisted.
"It was outside for less than 10 minutes before it got stolen," Moon said, adding that he thought someone was playing a trick on him at first.
The truck, a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 loaded with construction tools, will need somewhere in the range of $3,000 in repairs, Moon said.
"I'm mostly thankful nobody else got hurt," he said. "Because that was my prayer, 'Lord, please don't let them hurt anybody, because that's just a piece of iron.'"