A report of a kidnapped child resulted in a high-speed chase across Billings that reached 100 miles per hour and ended near Pryor.
The chase lasted about two hours, before coming to an end on a rural road Wednesday evening. The driver of the truck was taken to a hospital with injuries, and no child was found in the vehicle. Later Wednesday, police said no child had been reported missing, and the sheriff's office said it was unlikely a kidnapping had occurred, though it hadn't yet been ruled out.
The chase started around 5 p.m. Wednesday near Riverside Middle School when it was reported that a child, about 7 to 10 years old, was seen in a white pickup banging on the rear window. A sheriff's deputy in the area tried to make a traffic stop on the pickup when it drove off. That triggered a high-speed chase, said Yellowstone County Sheriff Sgt. Ryan Taylor.
When the chase began, there were three male occupants in the truck including the driver, who appeared to be in his late 30s to 40s.
Two of the men jumped out of the car in Billings city limits, but the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s department continued to chase the pickup.
The pickup drove out of Billings on South Billings Boulevard toward Pryor before turning onto East Fork Pryor Road. The chase continued up the pot-hole-ridden dirt road. Speeds on the dirt road reached up to 40-50 miles per hour, Taylor said.
While one officer tried to spin the pickup out, the driver jumped out of the moving truck and ran toward a ravine and then hid. A second officer ran after him and found and apprehended him when he spotted the man's shoes. The man had a head injury; it’s unknown if he got the injury by jumping from the pickup while it was still moving, Taylor said. The injury didn't appear to be life threatening, he said.
The man was taken by ambulance to a Billings hospital.
Two sheriff's vehicles were slightly damaged in the chase, but no officers were hurt.
It wasn't clear Wednesday evening what happened to the two men who jumped out of the truck in Billings, or whether the kidnapping report was valid.
"We kept pursuing until we could 100 percent say there wasn't a kid in there," Taylor said.
Billings Police were dispatched to assist the sheriff's department in locating the child shortly after the chase began. BPD Sgt. Clyde Reid said they did not find any evidence of a child being kidnapped during their investigation. By Wednesday night no one had reported a missing child either, he said.
The Yellowstone Sheriff's Department is continuing the investigation, and by Wednesday evening hadn't located a child either. Taylor said it seemed unlikely that a child had actually been kidnapped but they aren't ruling out the possibility until they can definitely say no one was kidnapped.
By 10 p.m. on Wednesday the two men had not yet been found either, Taylor said.
Montana Highway Patrol, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Billings Police Department, and the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office all responded to the incident.
The investigating is ongoing, Taylor said.