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3 people arrested after leading police on a chase in Missoula

Chase ended with the car on the Van Buren Street walking bridge
Posted: 10:46 AM, Nov 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-14 12:46:33-05
Devin Morris; Gabriel Despaigne; James Ruthford

MISSOULA — Three people were arrested earlier this week after leading police officers on a chase that ended with the vehicle driving onto the Van Buren Street walking bridge.

Missoula Police Department spokesman Sgt. Travis Welsh says the incident began at around 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday when police tried to stop a vehicle on East Spruce Street for not using taillights.

Sgt. Welsh says the driver of the car, who has been identified as Devin Morris, 23 years old, refused to stop, turned north onto Orange Street, and then proceeded on to Interstate 90.

Morris got off I-90 in East Missoula and headed back toward Missoula on Broadway. He then turned into the Eastgate Shopping Plaza parking lot and proceeded to drive onto the Van Buren Street walking bridge and hit the concrete barricades.

Morris was eventually taken into custody and was arrested for felony escape, conditional release violation, and extra jurisdictional warrant, according to Sgt. Welsh. Two other people in the vehicle, Gabriel Despaigne, 24, and James Ruthford, 37 were also arrested in connection with the incident.

According to information on the Montana Department of Corrections Correction Offender Network website, Morris has a criminal record dating from 2012 that includes theft and burglary charges in Missoula. He also was convicted on a 2016 theft charge in Lewis & Clark County.

The site also lists Despaigne as being convicted of criminal endangerment and burglary charges in connection with a 2013 Missoula incident. Ruthford has a criminal possession with intent to distribute charge from a 2014 Missoula incident.

Morris and Ruthford remain behind bars in the Missoula County jail; Despaigne was booked and later released from jail.