Robbery Suspects Crash Into MPD Vehicle During a High-Speed Chase
At around 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Missoula Police Officers responded to TJ Maxx for a report of an employee being threatened by a female shopper with a knife. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.
“When the officers arrived in the area, they were directed toward a vehicle that was leaving the scene and was apparently occupied by two suspects in the case,” Welsh said. “The officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but it failed to yield and a pursuit began that travelled around the North Reserve Street area.”
At one point, the vehicle was travelling in excess of 70 miles per hour.
While that was going on, another officer spoke to a complainant who said 39-year-old Tylene Jones had displayed and threatened her with a small knife.
“At about the same time the officers were ending the contact with the employee, other officers called out that the pursuit of the vehicle leaving the scene had ended when it crashed into a patrol car near the intersection of Saxony Place and Bridgecourt Way,” Welsh said. “That vehicle was occupied by Jones and 36-year-old Ashley Hartzell.”
Court documents indicate the vehicle lost control and collided into the right side of an officer’s patrol truck, causing it to spin around and stop. The vehicle attempted to leave the scene again, but another officer forced it off the roadway. The vehicle struck a small tree where it stopped, and immediately a female exited from the driver seat and a short foot pursuit was initiated. The female was apprehended a short distance later by both officers.
Both patrol vehicles had significant damages and the driver of the suspect vehicle was identified as Hartzell. She admitted that she had been using Heroin. Jones said that Hartzell would have tried to stop the car before colliding with the officer, but the brakes were bad.
Jones was charged with one count of felony robbery. Hartzell was charged with felony criminal endangerment, obstructing a peace officer, and felling from or eluding a peace officer. Both women were from Spokane, Washington.