BOZEMAN — Labor Day weekend took an unexpected turn when the Bozeman Police Department became involved in a high-speed chase. An officer attempted to pull Dylan Klapak over for speeding when he took off towards interstate 90.
“The suspect vehicle took off at a high rate of speed and a pursuit ensued,” says Captain Joseph Swanson of Bozeman PD.
Klapak was taken into custody after police officers deployed stop sticks on interstate 90 to slow him down. The pursuit finally ended when the suspect ran into railroad tracks, crashing his car near Rocky Creek Road.
“I believe it was a little bit less than a mile maybe a little bit more. He hit the spikes on I 90 and then I mean almost immediately exited onto the East Main interchange,” says Swanson.
Captain Swanson says that using stop sticks can be a dangerous operation for a police officer, but it is sometimes necessary when needed to slow a suspect down.
“It's a fairly dangerous operation in the sense of you still have a lot of other traffic Who's moving on the roadway. You have to worry about making sure that the stop sticks are not going to deflate the tires of somebody just passing by,” says Swanson.
The deployment stick is not always an easy job for officers. In fact, it can be dangerous for officers to deploy them, especially in a pursuit that takes place on the highway.
Swanson states, “Sometimes it takes two officers to do this because you may have to stop traffic and certainly stopping traffic. It's another dangerous part of of a pursuit.”
Officers also go through training on how to use these stop sticks and when is the right time to deploy them.
“They go through training, relatively basic of kind of the general how would the stop sticks look like where we store them in the patrol cars, and then kind of their general area of how you deploy them,” says Swanson.
Pursuits in Bozeman are becoming more common, but still do not happen all the time according to Swanson. The easiest thing a bystander can do if they see a high-speed chase is to safely get out of the way.
“Anytime you see any emergency vehicle driving through the city or wherever you might be with lights and siren activated, is pulled to the right,” says Swanson.