A Billings man accused of leading Missoula police on a high-speed chase down Brooks Street on Tuesday afternoon is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Casey James Deschamps, 25, is charged with four counts of felony criminal endangerment as well as four misdemeanors — fleeing from a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer, operating a car with expired registration and failure to have a front or rear bumper.
Police were on patrol when they recognized a silver Audi suspected to be part of a string of Missoula-area thefts. When they noticed it had a missing front bumper, they initiated a traffic stop.
A chase ensued when Deschamps failed to stop and began traveling east on Mount Avenue, accelerating to speeds ranging between 40 and 60 mph, according to charging documents. He continued east on South 14th Street West, running red lights and reaching speeds of 60 to 70 mph. He began swerving into oncoming traffic, forcing four vehicles off the road over the course of the incident to avoid getting hit.
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The pursuit continued southbound on Russell Street, with Deschamps swerving through multiple vehicles. He took a right turn to head south on Brooks Street from the intersection of Russell and Brooks. He eventually was stopped when he was blocked in by other cars after slamming on his brakes to avoid hitting a curb.
Deschamps didn't comply with initial commands to exit his car, instead putting it in reverse, documents said. One officer pointed a gun at him "in case the non-compliant driver attempted to turn combative." Additional officers arrived and through verbal directives were able to get him to get out of his car. He was arrested without further incident.
Police learned Deschamps is wanted for parole violations in Billings, where he had been involved in violent criminal offenses and is known to carry firearms and make threats to "shoot it out" with law enforcement.
At Deschamps' initial appearance on Wednesday, Justice of the Peace Alex Beal set bail five times higher than the state's request of $50,000, saying the defendant is a tremendous flight risk and danger to the community.
A felony criminal endangerment conviction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison. His arraignment is set for Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. in Missoula County District Court.