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Lockwood chase

Yellowstone County Sheriffs deputies and Montana Highway Patrol investigate the scene where a stolen pickup truck was stopped with spike strips on Highway 87 East in Lockwood Tuesday morning. Two women were taken into custody as the scene.

Two suspected car thieves were arrested in a stolen pickup south of Lockwood after leading the truck’s owner on a brief chase Tuesday morning.

The women, both in their 20s, pulled over on Highway 87 East after tire spikes laid by sheriff’s deputies and highway patrol troopers made the vehicle un-drivable, said Kevin Evans, Yellowstone County Undersheriff.

The driver, Jane Nickle Knowshisgun, 24, is being held in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on felony theft and criminal endangerment charges. The passenger, Yvette Rae Ward, 20, is also jailed, charged with felony theft and misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer.

The chase started in the home driveway of Lockwood resident Dan Belk. Belk, who lives on the far east end of the Billings suburb, had fired up his truck to melt the frost off the windshield, while he retreated inside. It was shortly before 8 a.m.

“I was drinking coffee and I heard the engine rev up,” Belk said. “I ran outside and they weren’t in the driveway, but I knew they’d be back. They were driving down a dead-end road.”

Shoeless, Belk tried to stop the pickup by standing in the road, but had to jump out of the way as the truck blew by. It was a large, black, 2012 four-door Dodge with a cow catcher on the front end. Belk hopped in his Subaru station wagon to follow his truck.

Belk saw two vehicles leaving the scene, his truck and an older Chevrolet Suburban. Belk said he lost the truck but thought if he followed the Suburban, it would lead him to the Dodge. He called 911 and kept deputies updated on the Suburban’s path west down the North Frontage Road.

At Planet Lockwood, a strip club on the outskirts of Billings, deputies put down tire spikes to stop the truck, which resurfaced as Belk followed the suburban. Evans said the truck ran over the spikes, but kept driving over the freeway toward Highway 87 East, which heads southeast of town.

The chase continued past Lockwood Middle School and the Chapel of Hope Assembly of God Church. The Highway Patrol intervened, putting out another set of tire spikes.

This time, the truck pulled over to the right of the intersection of Highway 87 East and Johnson Lane. The truck’s passenger-side front tire was shredded, cut to the steel belts by the truck wheel grinding it into the pavement.

There were no fewer than six law enforcement vehicles involved. Belk had warned deputies that there might be a pistol under the truck seat.

Law enforcement did not stop the Suburban.

It's been a rough winter for car thefts in Billings, with a vehicle stolen about every 10 hours.

It was good to stop a theft in action, Evans said. 



Agriculture and Politics Reporter

Politics and agriculture reporter for The Billings Gazette.