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Johnson sentenced to 5 years after ramming into police car

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A St. Ignatius woman has been committed to the Montana Department of Corrections for five years with none of that time suspended on charges stemming from a high-speed pursuit with law enforcement.

Alexis Lee Johnson, 25, was initially facing misdemeanor counts of theft, fleeing from or eluding a peace officer, driving while under the influence and felony criminal endangerment.

According to court records, on May 31, 2017, a Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Police officer responded to a report of a burglary at a residence on N. Maggie Ashley Drive in Pablo. The officer noticed a blood trail leading away from the site of the break-in. 

While following the blood trail, a speeding Dodge Durango passed the officer. He proceeded to his patrol car and a pursuit began. Ignoring the officer’s emergency lights, the Durango continued with speeds up to 90 mph in a 25 mph zone. 

The Durango ran a stoplight, and then, the vehicle turned onto U. S. Highway 93 into oncoming traffic, forcing other motorists off the road. The Durango turned onto Mud Creek Lane to avoid spike strips set out on the highway. The Durango eventually skidded to a stop, backed up and rammed the pursuing officer’s patrol car, causing damage to both vehicles. 

The pursuit continued on Mud Creek Lane and then crossed Old U. S. Highway 93. The driver almost hit another motorist before stopping. The other motorist that was almost hit was forced to brake, which caused the airbags deployed. 

The pursuit ended and Johnson was identified as the driver of the Durango. Johnson’s blood alcohol content was recorded at .136 by the Montana State Crime Lab. The Durango turned out to have been stolen.

Johnson had two other criminal cases against her, and both cases involved the possession of methamphetamine. As part of a plea agreement reached earlier, all but the theft, criminal endangerment and DUI charges, were dismissed.

Johnson’s publicly appointed attorney, Bob Long of Polson and prosecutor James Lapotka with the Lake County Attorney’s office, agreed that Johnson should be screened for any necessary treatment programs offered by the DOC.

In addition to the five-year commitment, Judge James Manley, of Polson, ordered Johnson to pay a total of $3,514 for damages to the Durango. Lapotka said another $500 was added for damages to the patrol car. Johnson was given credit for 91 days of jail time already served. The sentence took place at District Court in Polson on Sept. 9.

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