Driver accused of nearing 100 mph in downtown Billings pleads guilty

2014-07-29T15:40:00Z 2014-07-30T12:52:08Z Driver accused of nearing 100 mph in downtown Billings pleads guiltyGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

A man accused of reaching speeds nearing 100 mph in downtown Billings while fleeing from police in April pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence and three counts of criminal endangerment.

Richard Daniel White, 27, entered the guilty pleas before District Judge Russell C. Fagg, who scheduled White to be sentenced on Sept. 29.

According to White’s plea agreement, prosecutors are seeking a sentence that would total five years and send him to the state Department of Corrections.

Charging documents state that a bystander flagged down a Billings police officer near a downtown bar on North Broadway on April 12 and told him that the driver of a Chevrolet pickup truck that was driving away had assaulted a woman inside the bar.

The officer turned around and, while at the intersection of Sixth Avenue North and North Broadway, saw the pickup turn south onto North 29th Street. When he tried to stop the pickup, it sped off and reached speeds of as much as 100 mph in the downtown area, court records say.

The officer stopped chasing the truck and, a short time later, it nearly struck another officer’s patrol car on South 29th Street, an affidavit states. A third officer estimated the pickup was traveling at 80 mph at the time and watched it drive into South Park and weave through trees and over sidewalks, according to charging documents.

Another officer then saw the driver, later identified as White, get out of the pickup on the 400 block of South 30th Street and took him into custody after a short foot chase, the affidavit states.

Three witnesses along the route the pickup took told police later that it almost struck them. One man said that it passed by and nearly hit him as he stepped onto North 29th while two more said that the pickup almost crashed into their vehicle head-on as the pickup drove the wrong way down North 29th Street, according to the charging documents.

The arresting officer reported that White smelled strongly of alcohol and that his speech was slurred. Charging documents say White refused to perform sobriety tests or submit a breath sample and that an officer received a telephonic warrant and took a sample of his blood, which was sent to the state crime lab for testing.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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