At around 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, a Kalispell Police Department officer conducted a stop of a motor vehicle on Hwy 93 N just north of W. Reserve. The officer briefly made contact with a male and female that were in the vehicle. The vehicle then fled from the scene and a short pursuit followed. The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol assisted in that pursuit. Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino explains.

“The vehicle was spike stripped by a county deputy and the vehicle stopped in the area by Highway 93,” Heino said. “Once they were one scene, officers attempted to make contact with the car multiple times and were unable to get any response. When they finally did go to the vehicle, they found two individuals deceased in the car.”

The officers discover both occupants deceased from what are initially believed to be gunshot wounds. According to Heino, initial reports indicate that no shots were fired or heard.

“Of course, we have video and all of that kind of stuff that we are currently looking at, but essentially no,” Heino said. “Otherwise, the transition to approach the vehicle would have been a little different. They didn’t know at that point. With verification of video, we have no indication that any officer shot.”

The vehicle had Oregon plates and Heino says they are still in the process of identifying the occupants. Both individuals have been sent to the Montana State Crime Lab for an autopsy.

“The autopsy will occur on Friday and we will probably have verification of identity by then, that is my hope,” Heino said. “We will release names after notification of next of kin. We had crime scene teams out last night and we appreciate the public’s understanding of shutting down the highway for a couple of hours.”

While the highway was closed, Heino says law enforcement collected everything they needed and marked certain indicators just in case they need to go back. The investigation is still ongoing.