MISSOULA - Two people were arrested on Wednesday afternoon following a pursuit with law enforcement through Missoula.
The incident began when a Missoula officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for an occupant with multiple outstanding felony warrants around 12:25 p.m., according to a news release. The vehicle pulled over and the people inside provided false names according to Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Lydia Arnold. However, the officer recognized the people and advised them to turn off the vehicle.
According to Arnold, the driver — identified as Julia Mendoza — instead drove off at a high rate of speed almost hitting the officer. The pursuit began near the intersection of Paxson and Brooks streets with the suspect vehicle eventually reaching speeds upwards of 80 mph, according to Arnold. The chase ended near Humble and South Avenue when the suspect vehicle turned onto a dead end road.
The two people in the vehicle — Mendoza, and Tagen Struhs, were taken into custody. According to a news release, officers searching the vehicle found what is believed to be fentanyl and methamphetamine. Mendoza and Sruhs were then arrested on charges of Criminal Endangerment, Possession of Dangerous Drugs, and Intent to Distribute Dangerous Drugs.
Missoula Police Department Detective Eddie Lt. McLean is looking to talk with anyone who was nearly hit by the fleeing vehicle or whose safety was endangered by the fleeing vehicle. McLean can be reached at 406-552-6332.
MPD is continuing to investigate the incident.