Authorities search for man in Billings County: Alleged car thief who fled scene of accident still on the loose

NEAR GORHAM — Several local law enforcement agencies, including the Southwest Tactical Team, spent all of Thursday afternoon and evening searching for a man who allegedly rolled a stolen pickup truck he was driving on Highway 85 about 12 miles north of Belfield and fl ed from the scene.

The man, who as of 9:30 p.m. still hadn’t been located, is described as being white, and around 6-foot, 180 pounds with sandy brown hair. According to a witness, he was last seen wearing a red-brown plaid shirt and had an arm injury likely caused by the rollover, Billings County Sheriff Pat Rummel said.

The 1996 blue Ford F-350 pickup, which had been reported stolen in Billings, Mont., came to a rest on its side in a ditch after the rollover. According to a witness, Rummel said, the man exited the vehicle and ran into a sunflower field west of the highway near milemarker 87.

Authorities are unsure if the man is armed, but said.22-caliber shells were found in the pickup. Because of this, authorities are asking the public not to approach anyone fitting his description and to instead call 911 immediately.

He was last spotted about a mile north of where the accident occurred.

Sheriff’s departments from Billings County, Stark County and Dunn County, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the tactical team were involved in the search, as well as the Billings County Ambulance Service, Rummel said.

At 2 p.m., the agencies set up a perimeter around the sunflower field and had K-9s search the area.

A handful of officers from the Billings County Sheriff’s Department and the Highway Patrol planned to continue searching for the man through the night. Other agencies were relieved at about 9 p.m.

The Billings County Sheriff’s placed a reverse 911 call to area residents shortly after noon, alerting them of the situation.

“He’s still on the loose,” Rummel said.

“We have a perimeter set up around the fi eld waiting for bloodhounds to come through the fi elds for us,” Rummel said at about 2 p.m.

As of 7:30 p.m., Rummel said authorities are still searching for the man.

Sheriff’s departments from Billings County, Stark County and Dunn County, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the tactical team are involved in the search, as well as the Billings County Ambulance Service, Rummel said.

The Billings County Sheriff’s Department placed a reverse 911 call to area residents shortly after noon, alerting them of the situation.

Rummel said residents should call 911 immediately if they see the man, who he added has been spotted to the north of where he was originally thought to be.

Author: Dustin Monke

Former newspaper editor. Now I market the best baked goods and donuts in America. But every once in a while, I write a cool story too.

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