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Cedar Springs man pleads guilty in Montana

By Judy Reed

A Cedar Springs man that led police in Montana on a high-speed chase in a stolen car earlier this year pled guilty to several charges last week in Columbus, Montana.

Nathaniel James Purdy, 28, of Cedar Springs, pled guilty to one count of felony Criminal Endangerment, one count of felony Assault on a Peace Officer and one misdemeanor count of fleeing and eluding. Under the plea agreement, the Stillwater County Attorney’s office will recommend that Purdy be sentenced to five years with three years suspended. He will also be given credit for time served, about seven months.

Nathaniel Purdy (center) was arrested in Montana last January. Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Hensley, left, and Stillwater County Undersheriff Woody Claunch, right, assisted in the pursuit. Photo by Brenna McElhinny, editor of the Stillwater County News.

Nathaniel Purdy (center) was arrested in Montana last January. Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Hensley, left, and Stillwater County Undersheriff Woody Claunch, right, assisted in the pursuit. Photo by Brenna McElhinny, editor of the Stillwater County News.

The saga started with a car that was stolen from a Cedar Springs gas station. According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix was stolen from the Admiral Gas Station at 194 S. Main in Cedar Springs, about 8:45 p.m. January 2. The 43-year-old female driver left it running while she went inside to pay for gas. Surveillance footage shows a short, stocky person wearing a hooded sweatshirt and baggy clothing get into the car and drive away. Police say it appeared to be a smaller size female.

Two days later, on January 4, the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Department in Montana arrested Nathaniel James Purdy, 28, of Cedar Springs, after a high-speed chase topping 100 mph. According to the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy located the stolen vehicle about 10:15 a.m., after it was involved in a gas theft in Billings, Montana. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle in the Park City area of I-90, but the driver fled, leading the deputy and two highway patrol troopers on the high-speed chase. As they neared Columbus, Montana, Sheriff’s deputies and the Columbus Police Department put down spike strips, but Purdy still refused to stop, and exited into the town of Columbus. Purdy’s damaged tires gave out when he turned down an alley and he crashed into a building. He then fled on foot, but police pursued him and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint about 50 feet away from where he had crashed.

He has not been charged in connection to the vehicle being stolen. Anyone with info on the original theft of the auto should contact the Cedar Springs Police Department at 696-1311.

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