Thursday, June 13, 2024

Hammer admits to drug charges, dangerous pursuit

by Jeff Smith/For the Leader
| May 30, 2024 12:00 AM

A Charlo man, who led law enforcement on a pursuit while throwing drugs out the window of his car, has admitted to some of the resulting criminal charges.

Pascal Joseph Hammer III, 23, entered a plea of guilty in Polson District Court May 16 to felony charges of criminal endangerment, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and tampering with, or fabricating, physical evidence. The plea was entered as part of an agreement that could dismiss other charges. The judge is not bound to the agreement.

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 reverse 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 what turned out to be a bag of 49 pills containing fentanyl, out of the window, 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 Mercer set a sentencing date of July 11. Hammer remains in the Lake County Jail with bond totaling $50,000.