NewsCrime and Courts


More details emerge in Mission Valley high speed police pursuit

Posted at 11:05 AM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 13:11:04-04


Matthew Harold VanValin
Matthew Harold VanValin, 29, of Missoula (photo credit: Missoula County Sheriff’s Office)

POLSON – We are learning more information about a high-speed police pursuit through the Mission Valley that landed a man in jail.

Lake County Sheriff Don Bell says that Matthew Harold VanValin, 29, of Missoula was arrested after a pursuit that began late Sunday night in Ronan and ended 36 miles later at the Grey Wolf Casino in Evaro.

Missoula County Sheriff’s Office deputies put stop sticks out near mile marker 10 on US Highway 93 North and flattened the tires on the stolen vehicle. A short foot pursuit ensued and VanValin was taken into custody.

Lake County 93 Chase
(MTN News image)

No injuries were reported and the pursuit ended at about midnight.

Sheriff Bell states the pursuit started at about 11:15 p.m. when a Lake County deputy noticed a vehicle in Ronan that fit the description of a stolen vehicle out of Missoula.

The deputy verified the plate and when the vehicle came back stolen the deputy activated his emergency lights and siren. The driver of the stolen vehicle — later idenified as VanValin — then fled the stop at a high rate of speed heading southbound out of Ronan.

The Ronan Police Department, CSKT Tribal Police, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Missoula County Sheriff Office assisted the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in apprehending VanValin, according to Sheriff Bell.

VanValin is currently behind bars in the Missoula County Detention Center.

(first report)

)MISSOULA – A suspect is behind bars in the Missoula jail after stealing a car and leading several law enforcement agencies on a highspeed chase that ended at the Gray Wolf Peak casino early Monday morning.

Ronan Police Chief Ken Weaver tells MTN News that a Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputy initiated a pursuit after locating the stolen vehicle that had a dog in it at the Cenex gas station in Ronan shortly after 11 p.m.

The suspect let the dog out at the gas station and than led officers on a pursuit.

The Ronan Police Department, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Montana Highway Patrol and CSKT Tribal Police pursued the suspect south on US Highway 93 from Ronan to the Gray Wolf Peak Casino near Evaro.

Spike strips were placed on US Highway 93 where the vehicle then crashed into the pillars of the casino. The suspect abandoned the vehicle and ran inside the building where several law enforcement officers chased the suspect.

The suspect was arrested outside the casino.

Chief Weaver says a weapon was recovered but it’s unclear at this point if any shots were fired at the casino. The police report states an officer heard a “loud noise and glass breaking.” But Chief Weaver says it did not clarify if any gunshots were fired.

No was injured in the incident.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency in the investigation. We will have more information on this developing story as it becomes available.

-Melissa Rafferty reporting for MTN News