RONAN – A Ronan police officer was taken to the hospital and his cruiser was damaged in a Monday evening incident involving a drunk driver.
Officer Joel Diaz was on patrol and driving on Round Butte Road on Monday when he saw the driver of a GMC truck run a stop sign. Ronan Police say Diaz tried to stop but the truck struck the push bumper of the patrol car causing moderate damage.
The truck did not stop and fled the scene and a high-speed pursuit ensued down Main Street where the female driver went through three more stop signs. The driver then headed west on at a high rate of speed on Round Butte Road with Diaz in pursuit.
The pursuit continued for approximately 12 miles with the Montana Highway Patrol, Tribal Law and Order and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office joining in the chase.
The truck turned onto a gravel road, drove to the end and then made a U-turn, driving towards Diaz’s patrol car, according to Ronan Police. The truck then hit the cruiser ending the pursuit.
The female driver was taken into custody and was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol and a male passenger with outstanding warrants was also taken into custody. Two other female passengers were released at the scene. Authorities add that all of the passengers were intoxicated.
Diaz, who was sworn in as a Ronan police officer in February, was taken to a local hospital by ambulance and was later released. The Montana Highway Patrol is now investigating the DUI as well as the two crashes.