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MHP trooper shoots fleeing suspect during traffic stop near Ronan

by SCOT HEISEL
Lake County Leader | March 3, 2021 12:34 PM

A Montana Highway Patrol trooper fired a sidearm at a suspect attempting to flee a traffic stop Tuesday night a few miles southwest of Ronan, according to a press release from the state attorney general.

The trooper attempted to stop a vehicle being driven by Billy Washburn, 41, near the intersection of Beaverhead Drive and Eagle Lane just after 10 p.m., and Washburn attempted to flee the stop. The trooper attempted to stop the vehicle with a pursuit intervention technique (PIT), but was unsuccessful.

The trooper opened fire on Washburn’s vehicle after Washburn attempted to ram the MHP vehicle.

MHP Sgt. Jay Nelson confirmed Wednesday that Washburn was shot during the incident. He was apprehended and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Washburn was charged with criminal endangerment and felony DUI and was booked into the Lake County Detention Facility in Polson.

Nelson said the trooper has been placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure. He described the damage to the trooper's vehicle as "extensive."

The investigation has been turned over to the Montana Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.