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Motorcycle chase ends with multiple traffic violations

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Dillon Andrew Downward allegedly thought he could outrun a Ravalli County sheriff’s officer on a motorcycle late Wednesday afternoon.

He was wrong.

On Thursday, the 19-year-old Florence man was charged with felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor charges of fleeing from an officer, reckless driving, habitual traffic offender, speeding, failure to have a motorcycle endorsement and speeding near a school zone.

A sheriff’s detective was driving near Florence-Carlton loop when he spotted a motorcycle accelerating at high speed in front of him, according to the charging affidavit.

The detective estimated the motorcycle was traveling 55 mph in a 25 mph zone when it passed his vehicle and continued to accelerate northbound. The motorcyclist failed to yield when the officer turned on his lights and siren.

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After driving through the stop sign at Tie Chute Lane and Old U.S. 93, vehicles had to evade the motorcycle to avoid a crash, the affidavit said. The motorcycle then turned southbound on Old Highway 93.

The detective estimated the motorcycle’s speed topped 60 mph as it drove through the Florence-Carlton school zone. The officer noted that multiple vehicles had to evade as the motorcycle passed people in no-passing zones near the intersection of Old Highway 93 and Highway 93.

Downward headed south and drove through a red traffic light while traveling an estimated 80 mph in a 45 mph zone.

He stopped his motorcycle at the Rustic Hut apartments.

Downward told the detective that he did not want to stop because he knew his driver’s license was suspended and he thought he could outrun the officer, the affidavit said.

Downward was in the process of buying the motorcycle he was riding, he said. Dispatch confirmed that Downward’s license was revoked because he is a habitual traffic offender and that he doesn't have a motorcycle endorsement.

Ravalli County Justice Jim Bailey set bond at $10,000.


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