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Vehicle Accident Turns Into Hectic Day For Beaverhead County Sheriff's Dept.

On 07/21/22 around 8:19 AM, Beaverhead County Dispatch Center received a 911 call reporting a roll-over accident on I-15 Southbound near mile marker 98, near Moose Creek Hill. The call was directed to Butte Silverbow County as the accident was in their county. It became known to Montana Highway Patrol that the occupants of the vehicle were picked up by a passerby and dropped off in Melrose.

Around 9:00 AM a concerned citizen called in to report two suspicious males that were looking in cars at the Salmon Fly Campground/Fishing Access just outside of Melrose. Beaverhead County Sheriff Deputies responded to the area to look for the males as well as assist Montana Highway Patrol. It was determined that the two males that were looking in the vehicles were the occupants of the roll-over accident that had fled the scene of the crash. Prior to Law Enforcement arriving the two males had fled from the campground and into the wooded area near the campground. Law Enforcement pursued the two males but were unable to locate them due to the densely wooded area.

Montana Highway Patrol called upon their Special Response Team to come and assist with the search of the two males. Along with the Special Response Team came two highly trained tracking K9’s. They deployed into the wooded area and proceeded to track the two males. One male, identified as Antonio Baca Ramirez Jr. (age 28) of Thompson Falls, decided he had had enough and turned himself into Law Enforcement. He was transported by ambulance to Butte for his injuries sustained from the roll-over, where he was later released to Adult Probation and Parole.

Around 3:00 PM Beaverhead County Dispatch received a call from Butte Silverbow who advised a local rancher had located the second missing suspect near his residence. The rancher held the suspect at gunpoint until Law Enforcement could arrive and place him in custody. The male was identified as Stephen Goodman (age 27) of Missoula. Goodman was taken into custody and transported by ambulance to Butte for his injuries sustained from the roll-over accident. Goodman was found to be on the run after escaping a pre-release detention center in Oregon and had a Nationwide arrest warrant issued by the U.S. Marshall Service.

In total, the events totaled an almost seven (7) hour manhunt through three (3) counties and involved Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Deputies, Federal Law Enforcement, and Montana Highway Patrol Troopers. It utilized four (4) K9’s to track and for dangerous drug recovery, two man-powered drones with inferred cameras, and the Special Response Team, totaling roughly 25 Law Enforcement personnel. This incident showed the importance of coordinated cooperation between agencies.

The Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all the Law Enforcement agencies that assisted in this incident, as well as the helpful citizens of Melrose who lent a hand. Both suspects were arrested and the threat to local citizens was stopped.

David W. Wendt

Undersheriff, Beaverhead County

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