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Homeless man charged following high-speed chase near Hamilton
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Homeless man charged following high-speed chase near Hamilton

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A homeless man clocked at driving over 100 mph near Hamilton was charged with felony criminal endangerment Wednesday.

Darrion Michael Lemmon, 26, appeared in Ravalli County Justice Court on the felony charge and misdemeanor counts of second offense DUI, fleeing from a peace officer, reckless driving, failure to have liability insurance, driving while license suspended or revoked and unlawful possession of an open alcoholic beverage.

A Montana Highway Patrol trooper was traveling northbound on Highway 93 about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday when she observed a passenger car approaching her at what appeared to be excessive speed, according to the charging affidavit. Her radar confirmed the vehicle was traveling at 107 mph as it passed her.

The trooper turned around and attempted to follow the vehicle, but despite the fact she was traveling up to 118 mph, she was unable to catch up. A second trooper began following with his siren and lights activated.

Lemmon continued driving toward Hamilton at excessive speed before turning right onto Dutch Hill Road, the affidavit said. Both troopers then lost sight of the vehicle.

A short time later, a caller reported seeing the vehicle turn southbound on Highway 93 headed toward Hamilton off Dutch Hill Road. The two troopers pulled in behind the vehicle and turned on their lights and sirens. The driver refused to stop.

Lemmon maintained excessive speeds through Hamilton, where he passed three Ravalli County deputies with their emergency lights activated, as well as two Hamilton police who were trying to deploy stop sticks.

Law enforcement terminated the pursuit due to the excessive speed and reckless behavior of the driver, the affidavit said. A few minutes later a Ravalli County sheriff’s lieutenant reported he had located the vehicle south of Hamilton and had followed it onto a dead-end road.

Lemmon was combative and refused to follow commands given by law enforcement during his arrest, the affidavit said. Officers found several open alcoholic containers in the vehicle. He refused to provide a breath sample and due to his “combative and unsafe behavior,” the trooper opted not to transport him to the hospital to obtain a blood sample.

Lemmon had a warrant for his arrest from Hamilton City Court for failing to appear on a driving while license was suspended charge. The trooper confirmed there was no insurance on the vehicle Lemmon was driving.

Ravalli County Justice Jim Bailey set bond at $30,000.

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