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Three Forks man who escaped from prison pleads not guilty follow - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Three Forks man who escaped from prison pleads not guilty following crash

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Gary Conti (Dept. of Justice photo) Gary Conti (Dept. of Justice photo)
Park County Sheriff's vehicle that was hit by Conti's vehicle. (MTN image) Park County Sheriff's vehicle that was hit by Conti's vehicle. (MTN image)
High-speed chase ends with crash near Livingston, prison escapee Conti captured (MTN News photo) High-speed chase ends with crash near Livingston, prison escapee Conti captured (MTN News photo)
BOZEMAN -

Gary Joseph Conti, the Three Forks man who led law enforcement on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash outside Livingston last year, has pleaded not guilty in federal court to a charge of escape.

Conti, 70 years old, entered the plea Tuesday.

He faces up to five years in prison, $250,000 in fines and 3 years of supervised release.

Conti escaped from the Englewood Prison Camp in Littleton, Colorado, on October 30, 2015. FCI Englewood is a low-security correctional institute. He was apprehended after the crash in Park County.

Conti had been sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution in October of 2014.

On May 23, 2014, Conti was found guilty on 26 of 27 felony charges relating to his role in deceiving the government in an "in-kind" scheme that auditors have determined resulted in at least $4.6 million in fraud against a grant designed to help troubled and at-risk youth on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

On November 2, 2015, Conti was being chase by Bozeman Police officers, when at about 1 a.m. they requested assistance from Park County.

Deputies parked their patrol vehicles off the Interstate in the median near mile marker 330, deployed spike strips and positioned themselves a safe distance away. All emergency lights were activated.

Conti reportedly approached the location of the spike strips at a high rate of speed and struck one of the stationary and unoccupied Park County patrol vehicles causing extensive damage to both vehicles.

Park County Sheriff's vehicle that was hit by Conti's vehicle. (MTN image)

Conti was taken into custody and transported by ambulance to Livingston Hospital. No one else was injured.

The Interstate was closed for about three hours as the Montana Highway Patrol completed their investigation.

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