The two Miles City men who allegedly stole vehicles and were caught after two separate police chases in Laurel Feb. 22 and 24 — one involving gunfire — were arraigned in District Court in Billings Tuesday.
Austin Allen Allery, 18, and Hayden O’Neil Lowry, 20, appeared by video in court Tuesday morning.
Allery faces felony charges of theft, criminal mischief by accountability, assault on a peace officer, attempted theft of a police car, criminal mischief (common scheme), and misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer and theft (common scheme).
Lowry faces felony charges of two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of criminal endangerment, theft, and misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer and theft (common scheme).
“This is a case of guns and flagrant disregard for authority,” said Victoria Callender, Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney.
Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges.
According to Justice Court records, at about 12:45 Monday, Feb. 24, Laurel Police Officer Bill Brew was looking for two men involved in thefts of at least one vehicle and the theft of guns during the previous weekend.
Brew located Allery and Lowry wearing balaclavas that covered most of their faces. When questioned the men, they bolted on foot.
According to a Laurel Police Department press release, Allery attempted to steal a police cruiser, but was thwarted when the pursuing officer climbed into the vehicle and fought Allery for control, forcing the car into “park.” The suspect continued to resist arrest, but the officer was able to subdue him and place him under arrest.
Lowry ran into Walmart, then exited into a nearby Pizza Hut parking lot where court documents state he car-jacked the driver of a maroon 2006 Ford F-350 extended cab pickup truck by brandishing a handgun and attempted to flee. A citizen, trying to assist officers, rammed the stolen pickup with another car. A Yellowstone County Sheriff’s deputy fired on Allery, wounding his hand.
Police said Lowry led officers on a chase topping speeds of 80 miles per hour for about 30 minutes, skirting the east and north edges of Laurel. Officers deployed two sets of spike strips on Airport Road, over which the suspect ran. Driving on flat tires, the suspect cut south through the heart of town, past the high school, and headed eastbound on Old Highway 10 toward Park City, where Stillwater County Sheriff’s deputies had blocked exits.
The suspect continued for several miles before he lost control of the stolen truck and went off the road near Snowline Vista Way and Old U.S. Highway 10 west of Laurel.
The maximum punishment for assault on a peace officer is 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine; felony theft is 10 years and a $50,000 fine; felony criminal mischief is 10 years and $50,000; and misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer is six months and a $500 fine.
Judge Russell Fagg held bond at $75,000 for Allery and $100,000 for Lowry. A trial will be set at a later date.
Before Feb. 24 incident, Laurel authorities were looking for the two men after they allegedly fled a traffic stop Saturday night and led officers on a high-speed chase before the truck went off an embankment and rolled. They fled the scene. The 2006 Dodge 1500 mega cab pickup had been stolen from the 600 block of South Merriam Ave. in Miles City on Feb. 12 or 13, Miles City Police said. Firearms, some confirmed stolen, were flung from the wreck.
Published April 2, 2014