A man accused of stealing gas from a Havre gas station before leading police on a pursuit at speeds reaching over 100 miles per hour pleaded not guilty to the charges this week.
William Matthew Davidson Jr., charged with felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor counts of theft and fleeing or eluding a peace officer, eventually was caught after his car ran over spike strips, according to court documents.
Davidson denied the charges Monday in District Court. He has been held in the Hill County Detention Center on $15,000 bond since his arrest.
Here is what happened, according to court charging documents:
On March 16, a Havre police officer responded to a call about someone stealing $35.01 worth of gas from a Havre convenience store.
The officer watched the store’s video footage, then began searching for a gold Chevrolet Impala.
He found the car and activated his emergency lights and sirens. The car pulled over long enough for the officer to confirm the license plate was the same as the one in the video.
As the officer began to get out of his vehicle, the car sped off east on U.S. Highway 2. The officer gave chase.
At mile marker 388, the car passed another vehicle in a no-passing zone while going over 100 miles an hour.
“The pass occurred at the crest of a hill, forcing an oncoming vehicle to take evasive action and pull to the side of the road,” court documents said.
Officers put out spike strips at mile marker 401. The car ran over the strips and ended up in a ditch. Two occupants got out of the car and tried to run away. Both were caught.
Davidson, the driver, told police he ran because he saw lights and he stole gas because he needed it.
Suspects are presumed innocent unless convicted.
Write to Paul Dragu at firstname.lastname@example.org