A 19-year-old man was arrested Tuesday night after leading officers on a pursuit that ended when he abandoned his vehicle and ran into a woman's South Side apartment.
Mario Nava locked himself inside 487 Bunting St. as the woman was outside checking for mail and her brother lay sleeping on the living room couch, police and witnesses said.
The suspect surrendered after Billings Police Officer Steve Feuerstein, who initiated the pursuit, obtained the apartment keys and went in with help of two other officers.
"He was upstairs and he just came down without a problem," Feuerstein said.
The pursuit began at 9:30 p.m. near the intersection of 27th Street South and Second Avenue South and ended less than two miles later when Nava and a passenger bailed out of their Eagle Vision near the intersection of Kratz Lane and Washington Street, according to police.
No one was injured, but the vehicle struck a parked pickup, tore up a fence and garden and sped through a private pasture at various points during the chase, Feuerstein said.
No charges had been filed as of 9 p.m., and Nava's passenger had not yet been found.
Feuerstein said the trouble started when he noticed the Eagle Vision driving in reverse on Second Avenue South in an apparent attempt to evade his patrol. The vehicle struck the side of a Ford F-250 Ranger parked at the intersection with South 27th Street, then sped forward in his direction.
"He came at me head on and then the chase was on," Feuerstein said.
Officers were in pursuit as the vehicle sped west, eventually tearing through a yard at 308 S. 38th St., where it knocked over a fence and damaged a garden. The vehicle turned south on Jackson Street and then east on Kratz Lane. Rather than stop at the dead end, the motorist knocked over a second fence and drove through a pasture before re-entering Kratz Lane, which continues to the east.
Nava and his passenger finally abandoned the vehicle when they came to a second dead-end beyond Washington Street, and Nava doubled back to the apartment on Bunting Street, Feuerstein said.
The occupants of the apartment said they had no idea who the man was.
"I saw him running by and he just went into my house and locked me out," said the woman, who asked to not be identified.