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Missoula man charged following high-speed chase through Corvallis

Missoula man charged following high-speed chase through Corvallis

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Jace A Whitlow

Jace A Whitlow

A Missoula man who allegedly drove 95 mph through Corvallis on Sunday morning has been charged with felony counts of criminal endangerment and criminal mischief.

Jace Alan Whitlow, 18, appeared before Ravalli County Justice Jim Bailey on Monday on the felony charges and misdemeanor counts of DUI, fleeing from a peace officer, reckless driving, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, failure to render aid, speeding, speeding through a school zone, obstructing a peace officer and unnecessary use of horn.

According to the charging affidavit, Ravalli County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a disorderly male on Clearview Drive in Corvallis at 8:50 a.m.

The woman who called in the report said her daughter’s boyfriend was at their residence and was acting “weird.” The girl’s parents had refused to allow their daughter to go with the man due to his erratic behaviors and statements he was making.

Whitlow allegedly left the residence spinning his tires, honking his horn, and driving quickly at the family’s residence. Whitlow returned a short time later and again spun his tires and honked his horn.

A sheriff’s deputy found the man’s vehicle traveling westbound on Corvallis Cemetery Road and attempted to make a traffic stop. Whitlow refused to pull over.

During the subsequent pursuit, Whitlow allegedly drove his vehicle at high speeds and failed to maintain control. The affidavit said Whitlow drove about 95 mph through the 25 mph speed zone in Corvallis.

Whitlow lost control of his vehicle when he turned on to Eastside Highway and narrowly missed hitting another vehicle. He then sped through the Corvallis School zone. Once outside of town, the affidavit said Whitlow’s vehicle reached speeds of 116.

His vehicle was traveling about that speed when it struck a spike strip that had been deployed by a Montana Highway Patrol trooper near mile marker 13. The tires on Whitlow’s vehicle began to self-destruct. He lost control and drove through a field, across Winter’s lane, and onto a second field where his vehicle crashed into an irrigation wheel line and came to a stop.

Whitlow exited the vehicle and fled on foot. Deputies found him about 600 yards away. He was face down in a ditch, gurgling and soaked head to toe.

When taken into custody, Whitlow made several nonsensical statements. He told the arresting officers: “I can do whatever I want,” “Get me my water or die,” and “Give the keys to handcuffs or die.”

Whitlow was unable to complete portions of the standardized field sobriety test. He had difficulty focusing and maintaining on a train of thought. The affidavit said he would lose focus, stare away, and mentally depart from a conversation. He denied taking illegal drugs or being prescribed any medication.

At one point, Whitlow claimed the granola bar that he ate may have been laced with methamphetamine.

Whitlow’s girlfriend told officers she had seen him in possession of a small rubber container similar to those known to carry hash oil. She also reported that he smashed her iPhone XS at the time of the incident because he was paranoid about Chinese surveillance.

Bailey set bond at $25,000.

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