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Montana Highway Patrol recounts 5-hour chase to capture fugitive in Clancy

MHP Tech
Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 10:18:02-05

HELENA — Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Timothy Hornung recently announced the capture of 44-year-old Steven Curtis Drury. On July 15th, 2020, Drury was indicted in Clark County, Idaho, for trafficking methamphetamine.

According to a news release, Drury was arrested on Clancy Creek Road in Clancy, Montana, on February 10th, 2021. Officers from the Helena Police Department and Deputy U.S. Marshals of the Montana Violent Offender Task Force attempted to stop Drury’s vehicle in the parking lot of the Wingate Hotel in Helena, Montana.

MHP drone pilot explains how drone was used during chase

Drury drove away and led law enforcement officers on a chase, which continued to Clancy. Drury attempted to elude officers by driving on rural roads in deep snow. At one point, law enforcement believes Drury was able to use a chainsaw to cut down a tree into the road to evade capture.

MHP Drone pilot explains how the drone was used due to the downed tree

"I can tell you in my 23 years in law enforcement, this is the first time somebody has cut down a tree in front of us,” says MHP Sgt. Jay Nelson. “So immediately, when we came to this location, we started looking 360 degrees because we don't know if we are going to be in an ambush position. We put the drone up immediately to look for any heat signatures, and then luckily, we had a [Bureau of Land Management] ranger with a large pick up and a winch. We were able to move this tree out of the way in the matter of minutes."

Officers used a helicopter to keep sight of Drury but weather forced the helicopter away from the scene. Montana Highway Patrol utilized a drone that was pushed to its limits to apprehend the suspect. "We have three sets of batteries on this [drone] that will run anywhere between 25 minutes and 40 minutes depending on how you're flying the drone, weather, temperature, and that day, we burned through all three sets of batteries until we got the suspect into custody," says Brandon Uhl, the drone pilot for Montana Highway Patrol.

Drury eventually surrendered and was taken into custody without incident following a collaborative manhunt conducted by Deputy U.S. Marshals, the Montana Highway Patrol Special Response Team and Air Unit, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, agents of the Bureau of Land Management, and a Montana Fish and Game Warden.

How MHP found the man, and how they used the drone to gain his attention for the eventual arrest.

Drury was booked in the Jefferson County Detention Center where he remains as of March 3rd.