Posted: Apr 25, 2013 8:09 PM by Jamie Leary - MTN News
Law enforcement say there is no doubt Brandi Hodgin put lives at risk and for officials, the difficult decision was how to apprehend her without further risking public safety.
So, how does law enforcement make the decision? In yesterday's incident, it all came down to teamwork.
MTN's Jamie Leary discovered how multiple agencies pulled together to keep the communities' roads and streets safe during the high-speed chase and reckless behavior of the suspect.
"The pursuit was definitely a threat to public safety," said Lt. Ryan Stratman of the Gallatin County Sheriff's Department.
"We're constantly evaluating the risk versus the gain of apprehending her," said Sgt. Jason LaCross with the Bozeman Police Department. "On numerous occasions, Hodgin headed into situations putting other drivers at risk even forcing some of them off the road."
"When she turned on to Huffine headed back into town, I knew that there would be high volumes of traffic within the city limits so I made the decision that we were going to deploy the stop sticks in order to stop her from getting back into the city limits of Bozeman and putting other people in danger," LaCross said.
The sergeant says while they first attempted to contact her over alleged check fraud, the decision to pursue her had little to do with those allegations.
"We started off attempting to contact her and she started just kind of driving away, the more she drove, the more dangerous her driving became and once she was headed out of the city of Bozeman I was fairly comfortable continuing the pursuit because she was going from an area of high traffic out to an area of lower traffic."
With coordination, a plan to use stop sticks (a device used to impede or stop the movement of wheeled vehicles by puncturing their tires).
Facing the challenge of using the stop sticks in a busy area, officers waited until her vehicle approached, threw them in front of the truck and let her tires hit the stop sticks and then removed them immediately after.
The officers are grateful for other drivers who were involved in yesterday's incident.
"We had a lot people slowing down, they saw the emergency lights so they gave us the opportunity to deploy the stop stick,." Sgt. LaCross said.
After several hours and 35 miles later the chase ended with no injuries.
Brandi Hodgin, 27, is charged with two counts of criminal endangerment and one count each of forgery and theft.