A man who fought with a Montana Highway Patrol trooper and then ran away was arrested Wednesday morning north of the Billings Heights after law enforcement tracked his footprints in the snow for more than half a mile.
The man who was first spotted driving the wrong way on Shiloh Road is also suspected in at least one vehicle theft and several other crimes.
After stopping for the trooper and then running away, the man is believed to have stolen a vehicle on the West End, which was later found crashed into a ditch near Highway 312 and Dover Road.
The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office began tracking the man's footprints from the crash site and found him at about 8:30 a.m. hiding inside an overhead camper near Grelck Lane and Independent Lane, said Capt. Bill Michaelis.
The series of events that eventually roped in three different law enforcement agencies began at 5:16 a.m. when MHP Trooper Toni Snelling spotted someone driving the wrong way in her lane on Shiloh Road near the roundabout at King Avenue West. Snelling said she pulled the man over and had snapped one handcuff on him when he started resisting.
A fight ensued, and the pair went to the ground before the man escaped and took off running. Snelling said she fired her stun gun at him and it appeared he was hit but he kept running. The trooper followed him through a field and into the Olympic Village neighborhood before he got away.
At about 5:22 a.m., the Billings Police Department received a report of a stolen vehicle on Grecian Way. The vehicle was warming up unattended with the keys in it, said BPD Sgt. Shane Winden.
Based on where the man's footprints were lost in Olympic village and its proximity to Grecian Way, police believe it was the man MHP had encountered, Winden said.
Later in the morning, the stolen vehicle was found crashed into the ditch off Highway 312 near Dover Road north of the Billings Heights.
"Looks like he wandered off the south side of the road and struck a mailbox and over-corrected and slid off the north side of the road and got stuck in the snow there," Michaelis said.
The sheriff's office found footprints and began following them for what Michaelis guessed was up to three-quarters of a mile. Those footprints in the snow led to an old, unlocked, overhead camper that was on the ground in a farmer's field.
The suspect was found inside the camper and refused to surrender. He was then shot with a stun gun, handcuffed and arrested, Michaelis said.
The suspect was booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on several felony charges, Michaelis said.