BILLINGS — A 28-year-old Billings man could spend up to 12 years in prison on charges of stealing a Billings city bus and driving off with two passengers inside.
Deavonta Kwame Belton was charged with felony theft and three misdemeanors in Yellowstone County Justice Court Friday. The misdemeanors are related to unlawful restraint of the two passengers and possessing drug paraphernalia.
Prosecutors said in court documents that police first received a call around 12:20 p.m. Thursday that the Billings MET bus had been stolen from the downtown transfer station and was heading into the Heights on Main Street.
Two Yellowstone County sheriff's deputies identified the bus, then managed to corral it and force a stop with their patrol cars, prosecutors said.
One deputy pulled out his weapon and ordered the driver to put the bus in park. At first, he lurched the bus back and forth, but eventually engaged the parking brake.
The deputy then entered the door and saw the driver flailing around and speaking nonsensical gibberish. The driver at first resisted his command to put his hands behind his back, then did so after the deputy raised his Taser, prosecutors said.
Deputies identified the driver as Belton from Yellowstone County Detention Facility booking photos.
They spoke with the two passengers, an 89-year-old woman and a 38-year-old woman, who both said they wished to press charges.
Deputies found a gold pipe on Belton after searching him. He has been booked into jail. His bail was set at $50,000.