Just before midnight Tuesday, a Missoula police officer attempted to stop a vehicle in the 300 block of East Spruce Street for not having any tail lights. The vehicle refused to stop and actually accelerated away from the officer. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh says the officer initiated a pursuit.

“The vehicle drove around downtown until it made its way to the interstate from Orange Street, but not before it passed another vehicle on Orange Street and sideswiped it as it went around,” Welsh said. “The vehicle continued east on I-90 to the East Missoula Street exit where it got off the interstate and turned back westbound on the Old Highway to travel back toward town on East Broadway.”

According to Welsh, the vehicle traveled at a high rate of speed while it was on the interstate. The officers continued to pursue the vehicle and determined that the driver was a danger to the public.

“The vehicle turned into the grocery store parking lot on East Broadway, exited onto Van Buren, and turned southbound on the Van Buren Street bridge where it struck one of the concrete barricades,” Welsh said. “Three occupants from the vehicle jumped out and fled down towards the river. Other officers converged on the area and three individuals were quickly apprehended.”

Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident. Officers arrested 27-year-old Devon Morris who was the driver of the vehicle, 37-year-old James Ruthford and 24-year-old Gabriel Despaigne. They were arrested for offenses related to the pursuit and for attempting to flee on foot from officers. Mr. Despaigne was arrested a week ago for allegedly stealing a vehicle that was warming up unattended.