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Hammer receives 15-year sentence for drugs, police chase

by Jeff Smith, For the Leader
| July 4, 2024 12:00 AM

A Charlo man was committed to the Montana Department of Corrections for 15 years with five years suspended on one count of criminal endangerment and criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

Pascal Joseph Hammer III, 23, entered a plea of guilty in District Court in Polson May 16 to felony charges of criminal endangerment and criminal possession of dangerous drugs. The plea was entered as part of an agreement that dismissed three other criminal endangerment charges and a charge of tampering with physical evidence.

According to court records, on Sept. 7, 2023, law enforcement officers from separate agencies were on patrol together in Pablo when they attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle for a brake light violation. The suspect vehicle sped off, running multiple stop signs through a residential neighborhood, before it crashed into a propane delivery truck.

As the officers exited their patrol car to attempt to arrest the driver, later identified as Hammer, he put his vehicle in reverse and rammed the patrol car. He then went forward ramming the propane truck, then reversed into the patrol car again.

Hammer took off after that, nearly hitting one of the officers, and the pursuit resumed. At times during the pursuit, Hammer entered the opposite lane of travel, erratically and unsafely. He was also observed tossing out the window what turned out to be a bag of 49 pills containing fentanyl, before his vehicle became disabled.

When he was taken into custody, the officers located a meth pipe in his pocket. The officers were able to recover the baggie of discarded drugs.

Judge John A. Mercer gave Hammer credit for already serving 308 days in jail and ordered him to pay $6,961 for damage to a patrol vehicle.