Bystander, store owner stops suspects after pursuit through Bill - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT


Bystander, store owner stops suspects after pursuit through Billings

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Jake Vangen successfully stopped two suspects from fleeing law enforcement. (MTN News Photo) Jake Vangen successfully stopped two suspects from fleeing law enforcement. (MTN News Photo)
(MTN News Photo) (MTN News Photo)

Montana Highway Patrol confirmed one suspect is on the loose Saturday night, but does not pose a threat to the public.

Trooper Dell Aman said attempted to pull over the Ford Explorer with temporary registration that didn't appear proper around North 13th Street.

Aman said the driver fled west on 2nd Avenue North.

From when the trooper attempted the stop to the crash was roughly two minutes, Aman said.

The two apprehended suspects, 27 and 37 in age, were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The 37-year-old man had a felony warrant out for his arrest.

Both of the men arrested are from Billings.

The investigation is ongoing.

At least two suspects are in custody after leading Montana Highway Patrol on a pursuit that ended in downtown Billings on Saturday.

A Ford Explorer slammed into the driver side of a GMC Sierra pickup around 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of 1st Avenue North and North 22nd Street.

Following the crash, the three men inside the flipped Explorer fled the scene.

A Billings man, Jake Vangen, who was at Northside Pawn when the crash occurred, said the Explorer was headed west on 1st Avenue, then doubled back by turning left on North 21st Street, east on Montana Avenue, then north on North 22nd Street.

The Explorer did not stop, running the intersection and colliding into the GMC, which caused it to spin and strike a parked car.

"He didn't hit his brakes or anything, sped through the intersection and hit the truck," Vangen said.

The occupants of the GMC did not appeared injured.

Meanwhile, Vangen saw two of the men attempt to flee.

"They started running away until I pulled my firearm on them and put them on the ground," he said.

With his pistol trained on one of the suspect, who then complied. "The firearm made them pretty submissive," Vangen said. "As far as I know, they were armed and dangerous criminals. They posed a threat to me, my son, anyone in this area by acting the way they were. So if you can stop that, that's what you need to do."

Vangen said he focused on safety of him and the suspect, make sure he saw where their hands were at all times.

The owner of Northside Pawn and another bystander was able to stop the second suspect from fleeing in an alley.

"Is he pulling a gun, is he pulling a knife out, is he trying to do something here that could hurt me, I didn't want any of that to happen," Vangen said. "So my main focus was keeping his hands visible while my gun was pointed at his forehead."

"Don't shoot me," one of the suspects pleaded with Vangen.

Social media praised Vangen as a hero for his actions. He said he was glad no one got hurt.

"I'm just glad [the driver's of the GMC] is okay and the people who did that to him are hopefully all locked up," Vangen said.

As of this posting, police were still searching for a possible third suspect.

We reached out to Montana Highway Patrol for more information as to why the driver led troopers on a pursuit and the name of the two suspects arrested. 

Clarification: The second suspect was stopped thanks to another bystander and the owner of Northside Pawn. The story has been updated to reflect that detail.

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