The Madison County Sheriff’s Department ended a daylong crime spree that began with the theft of three cars in the Belgrade area. An arrest was made after a car chase ended in U.S. Forest Service lands near Pony.
Matthew Brandemihl walked out of the woods and surrendered himself to the Madison County Sheriff’s department after leading local law enforcement on several high-speed chases that spanned two counties.
The 31-year-old man is accused of stealing three cars and breaking into a house in the Belgrade area before he tried to evade law enforcement.
According to the Madison County Sheriff’s office, a call came into the dispatch around noon on Thursday from a clerk at McLeod Mercantile in Norris. The clerk reported that she thought a man filling up his car could be the suspect for car theft in Belgrade. The man had already led police on two high-speed chases.
After filling up his vehicle, the man headed toward Harrison.
Madison County Sergeant Doug Young was approximately a mile down the road on a traffic stop. Young intercepted the suspect just outside of Harrison. Brandemihl then sped toward Pony. Young continued to pursue him to the North Willow Creek trailhead just west of Pony where the suspect drove into the dense forest.
Brandemihl then crashed into a creek and tried to flee on foot. Law enforcement from Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison Counties conducted a manhunt with horses, ATV and a K-9 unit. Bert Todd and Nancy Nellis loaned their ATVs to law enforcement, and Connor and Scott Lambert let the officers use their horses to search for Brandemihl.
Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Bauers, Officer Dan Haggerty from Jefferson County and Montana Highway Patrol Officer Brandon Moore joined Young. The four law enforcement personnel followed tracks and worked their way up the trailhead until they found the stolen Ford Explorer Brandemihl was driving buried in a creek.
The search yielded nothing, but a TV reporter spotted a man walking out of the woods. Brandemihl was arrested at 6:40 p.m. and transported to Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman for a leg injury he sustained during the car chase.
Brandemihl appeared in the Gallatin County Justice Court on Friday. He is charged with three counts of felony theft, one count of felony burglary and felony criminal endangerment. He is being held on $100,000 bond.
The Madison County Sheriff’s County thanks the residents in the area for their assistance with the manhunt.
Photo provided by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s department utilized ATVs and horses from residents in the area. Residents also assitsted in the manhunt is the Pony and Harrison areas.