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BOZEMAN — A man who led authorities on an all-day chase through two counties on Thursday before finally being apprehended in the Tobacco Root Mountains near Pony was charged Friday in Gallatin County justice court with five felonies.

Matthew Brandemihl, 31, of Three Forks, was charged with criminal endangerment, burglary, and three counts of theft. He’s being held in the Gallatin County Detention Center on $100,000 bail.

Madison County Deputy Attorney Chris McConnell said his office has not yet made a decision about charging Brandemihl. McConnell said Friday that his office would review reports before determining the best course of action.

3 stolen vehicles

According to charging documents, Brandemihl broke into a house and stole three different vehicles in his efforts to elude the police Thursday morning near Belgrade.

As he fled, he drove eastbound on the westbound lane on I-90 for a short time and also allegedly reached speeds of close to 100 mph. He led police on a chase between 8 and 9:30 a.m. that included driving through a closed garage door, jumping railroad tracks, and ultimately crashing into a ditch before managing to escape, according to court documents.

Brandemihl was next was spotted about three hours later around noon in Norris at a gas station, in a stolen 1999 GMC truck.

He again fled, this time north on Highway 287 toward Harrison, and again allegedly reached speeds near 100 mph as the Montana Highway Patrol gave chase. From Highway 287, the suspect headed west on Highway 283 onto Cataract Road and then into the Tobacco Root Mountains, according to authorities.

Steve DiGiovanna, communication coordinator for the Madison County sheriff’s office, said Brandemihl drove his truck off-road for over mile into the forest before abandoning the stolen vehicle and running away.

A nearly five-hour search commenced, conducted by deputies from Madison, Gallatin, and Jefferson Counties, Montana Highway Patrol, and K9 units — with an assist from many residents of Pony, according to DiGiovanna.

DiGiovanna said those residents helped in the search by offering their horses, ATVs, and expertise about the lay of the land. He said, however, that muddy, wet terrain complicating the search.


It appeared as if Brandemihl were going to escape until he emerged from the woods and gave himself up voluntarily. He was arrested and taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for what was described by authorities as a non-life-threatening leg injury.

At the time of Thursday’s manhunt, Brandemihl had a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court in April on charges that included reckless driving.

He has a preliminary hearing set for June 14 on the five felony charges.