Missoula County Coverage

Aug 23, 2012 12:35 AM by Breanna Roy - KPAX News

Missoula detective honored after bike chase arrest

MISSOULA- A scene reminiscent of an old TV western played out in Missoula, but instead of the officer of the law hopping on a horse to chase the bad guy, he wrangled a good citizens bicycle to catch the crook.

Detective Scott King estimates he spends about 90% of his job in the office. But this month, it was that other 10% that hailed him a hero. Though, he doesn't look at it that way.

"He's a very humble, very reserved guy," Missoula County Sheriff's Detective Lieutenant David Conway said. "Feels like he was just doin' his job for the day."

On August 9, King and Missoula Police Detective Chris Shermer were driving to a meeting when they heard a disturbance call in progress at the California Street footbridge. They happened to be in the neighborhood.

"Even though they were in unmarked cars and plain clothes, dressed as detectives normally are, they decided to stop and see if they could assist with the disturbance," Conway said.

The two were first on the scene, and came to find two men fighting on the south bank of the Clark Fork River.

"One really large male, like 6'11", well over 200 pounds, pushing a smaller guy," Conway said. "Then the smaller guy ran toward 'em, and the bigger guy jumped on a bike and took off."

King knew he wasn't going to catch the man on foot, so he thought quick, borrowed a bike from a civilian and pedaled off down the bike path after him.

"Course he quickly outdistanced the other officer that was with him and didn't have a radio, because he's dressed in plain clothes and wasn't normally carrying a radio, so he didn't have backup or anyway to communicate with backup," Conway said.

It was a one-on-one bike race for about a mile and a half and, since the suspect showed no signs of stopping, King found a way to physically stop him.

"He was finally able to take the opportunity to purposefully crash his bicycle into this much larger man's bicycle," Conway said.

After what the detective described as a tense standoff, King managed to get Joseph Peasley, 20, of Missoula, into handcuffs.

That's when officers found Peasley had a gun, knife and ski mask in a pack on his back the whole time.

Detective King wore street clothes and just his belt, badge and gun -- not the full-scale gear or bulletproof vest that officers and deputies wear daily when they respond to these calls.

"It's not the uniform or the equipment that makes the man," Conway said. "Deputy King proved that."

Peasley remains in jail facing a felony charge.

The borrowed bike required significant repairs, but the Sheriff's Office paid for the fix and the borrowed bike is back with its owner.

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