BILLINGS - A Billings judge on Thursday set bond at $175,000 for a man facing a dozen charges after his arrest in connection with a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle that ended in a collision involving four other vehicles.
According to prosecutors, Joseph Raymond Weinreber, 28, had meth and appeared to be high when he was arrested after the pile-up Wednesday evening.
The chase started near 24th Street West and Central Avenue, where officers reported spotting Weinreber in a pickup that had been stolen.
The officers attempted to stop him, but he fled and disappeared in a nearby neighborhood, court records say.
Police caught up with Weinreber again near the intersection of Eighth Street West and Kluge Lane.
He drove into a field between the south end of Eighth Street West and some railroad tracks, turned around and went through a trailer court on Prickett Lane and then turned west onto Central Avenue, where the pursuit ended in a pile-up at the intersection of 15th Street West, according to charging documents.
At the end of the chase, Weinreiber hit a vehicle driven by a 23-year-old woman who had her 4-year-old son with her, court records say. Another vehicle hit the stolen vehicle Weinreiber was driving, causing him to hit yet another vehicle, according to police.
After the pile-up, Weinreber ditched the stolen pickup he was in and then attempted to steal vehicles from two drivers who were stopped because of the pile-up before he was caught by police, charging documents say.
Officers ordered him to the ground, but he reportedly ignored them. He was taken to the ground, but fought with the officers, prompting police to twice hit him with a Taser.
Court records indicate that at least one other vehicle was damaged during the pursuit.
No one was seriously injured.
“Miraculously, everybody’s shook up, but nobody’s been transported to the hospital,” Billings Police Lt. Mark Cady said after the incident.
On Thursday, Weinreber appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court by video from jail on 12 charges, including felony charges of theft, drug possession, two counts of attempted robbery and three counts of criminal endangerment.
Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Paul W. Adam asked that bond be set at $175,000 because of the “egregious” nature of the allegations and Weinreber’s criminal history, which includes a felony conviction for drug dealing.
“The state believes this bond is commensurate with the nature of this offense — particularly repeated use of a stolen vehicle to endanger multiple individuals,” Adam said.
Assistant Public Defender Clark Mathews, who appeared with Weinreber, argued for a lower bond.
“Judge, $175,000 is just not commensurate with these charges. $175,000 is typically what we see for deliberate homicide or something extremely, you know, egregious,” Mathews said. “And obviously these are serious charges, but I think a $50,000 bond would be a very substantial amount of bond.”
“I will agree with you that bonds of that nature are reserved for egregious offenses or allegations,” said Judge Pro Tem Lance Lundvall, who was filling in for Justice of the Peace Pedro R. Hernandez. “I guess where I do disagree with you is that this fits that mold.”
Weinreber is scheduled to enter pleas to the charges in Yellowstone County District Court on Dec. 19.