Written by Devon Boen
Police say what started out as an attempted boat theft turned into a dangerous car chase on Friday June 29. Shortly after 2 p.m., police received several calls reporting a presumably intoxicated driver.
Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier said witnesses reported three men tried to steal a boat at the fish hatchery on Fort Peck Lake owned by James Collins of Sidney by attempting to hook it up to their vehicle and pull it out of the water. The suspects left without the boat when onlookers ran them off, Meier said.
One witness called the police and reported the attempted theft and also stated that the driver as well as his passengers seemed very intoxicated. Police identified the vehicle in question and pulled them over.
Meier said the driver, Emmett Buckles, 27, of Poplar, was told to step out of the vehicle. When the responding officer returned to his car for a moment, Buckles got back in his car and took off and police quickly followed, the sheriff said. The pursuit began at about 2:20 p.m. west of Fort Peck Dam.
Meier said as the three men travelled through Nashua, an off-duty officer who was informed of the situation left his home and deployed stop sticks on the road, causing three of the vehicle’s tires to go flat.
Police said Buckles continued driving despite the damage to his car. He went through Nashua up to U.S. Hwy. 2, toward Wolf Point. The car finally went off the road between the Porcupine Bridge and the Porcupine Overflow Bridge where police apprehended the men.
Buckles was charged with aggravated DUI, criminal endangerment, felony theft and not providing mandatory liability vehicle insurance.
The second suspect, Royce Spottedbird, 25, of Glasgow, was arrested on a city court warrant for alleged violation of conditions and contempt of court. He was charged with obstructing a peace officer and felony theft.
The third man, Benjamin Walking Eagle, 26, of Poplar, was arrested on a city court warrant and was charged with obstructing a peace office and felony theft. He was released and then arrested again the same day for public pedestrian intoxication after police said he was found jumping in front of vehicles on the highway.
All three men are tribal members and court dates had not been set as of presstime Tuesday.