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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Fargo man leads police on 180-plus mile chase across MT

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

A man led multiple law enforcement agencies across both county and state lines during a high speed pursuit down Interstate 94 Monday evening in a chase that stretched nearly 185 miles and finally ended in a wreck in North Dakota which has left the suspect, Joshua Trichtler, 29, of Fargo, N.D., hospitalized in a Bismarck hospital.

The chase began late Monday afternoon just east of Forsyth in Rosebud County. According to Rosebud County Undersheriff Bruce Price, the incident began as a simple traffic stop, as a RCSO deputy made an effort to stop a vehicle that went by him at high speed and apparently without current license plate registration. Price said the vehicle initially slowed down like it was going to stop, but then suddenly accelerated and took off down the highway, initiating the chase.

Price said his deputy stayed in the chase — which was soon joined in by the Montana Highway Patrol and other local sheriff’s offices as the driver crossed county lines — until Miles City, noting that the pursuit speeds were in the vicinity of 110-120 miles per hour. The RCSO’s role in the chase abruptly ended at Miles City, however, as Trichtler managed to elude spike strips which had been set out on the highway to stop him, but the deputy did not.

“Our deputy was incapacitated in Miles City by hitting spike strips,” Price said.

Once Trichtler entered Dawson County, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office joined in the chase, staying with the suspect the rest of the way until hitting North Dakota, according to MHP Sgt. Troy Muri.

Once in North Dakota, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and their local sheriff’s offices took over the pursuit. NDHP Lt. Steve Fischer noted that Trichtler continued to elude efforts to stop him with spike strips employed by both the Golden Valley County and Billings County sheriff’s departments. The chase finally ended about 10 miles into North Dakota near Sentinel Butte due to Trichtler simply losing control of his vehicle when he hit a wet spot on the highway, according to Fischer.

“In investigating the crash, it appears the driver lost control of the vehicle, crossed the median, and rolled over into the north ditch,” Fischer said.

Trichtler survived the wreck and was taken to a hospital in Bismarck, where he remained as of press time. As of Tuesday afternoon, Fischer said he did not know what Trichtler’s medical condition was. 

The reason Trichtler fled from police is not at all clear at present to the NDHP or any of the other investigating agencies involved, Fischer said. What is known for certain is the vehicle was not reported stolen and there were no drugs, weapons or any other suspicious material found in the vehicle, leaving the reason as to why Trichtler fled from police a mystery.

“Unless we’re able to talk to him and figure out what was going on, we don’t have any idea why he was running,” Fischer said. “God only knows why he did it.”

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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