BUTTE — Butte police arrested Athena Lynn Smith of Butte in connection with trying to run down a group of young people gathered at a popular hangout with her vehicle.
“She started ramming vehicles and actually struck some younger kids as she was leaving with her vehicle. There was at least four injuries,” said Butte Police Capt. Mark St. Pierre.
Witnesses allege she was wearing a badge and claimed to be the new sheriff, waving burning sage around and making strange statements. She also led police on a high-speed chase before being arrested.
“The suspect continued at such a rate that our officers were reporting that the suspect’s vehicle’s tires were leaving the ground,” said St. Pierre.
Police claim she fought with them while being arrested at Mercury and Western Avenue.
“She’s going to have resisting arrest charges, assault on police officers, multiple vehicular hit and runs not to mention vehicular assaults. There’s going to be multiple felonies,” said St. Pierre.
Some of the young people who were at the scene described it as a surreal and terrifying experience as they all ran for cover trying to avoid getting hit by this erratic driver.
“I watched a girl get hit and I’m pretty sure it snapped her ankle. She’s sitting there crying, I’m on the phone with 911, I had my friends freaking out, there’s kids just running in all directions,” said Dalton Knaub.
Police said it was fortunate there were no life-threatening injuries.
Smith remains in jail as of Wednesday evening.
(1st Report) A group of young people had a terrifying experience in Butte on Tuesday night, claiming a woman tried to run them down with her vehicle.
The incident occurred in the parking area just below Big Butte where about 20 young people were gathered at about 10:30 p.m. when a woman drove up claiming to be the "new sheriff in town."
Witnesses say she was burning sage and making strange comments, and then started punching some of the young people.
The woman then reportedly got into her vehicle, drove around crashing into other parked cars, and tried to hit bystanders.
“She just came right at us, right at us,” said Dalton Knaub, one of the witnesses. “Had no remorse at all. I froze like a deer in the headlights and last second I moved."
Knaub added, “If I wouldn’t have moved, she would have went right over the top of me, but I got clipped on the side.”
Police engaged in a chase with the suspect, but provided no further details, saying the case was still being investigated.
We will update you if we get more details.