Drunk Driver in a Stolen Truck Nearly Hits Missoula School Bus
On the morning of May 24, 2022, a Missoula Police Department Officer was patrolling near the intersection of Brooks and S. Higgins. The officer observed a truck traveling southbound, drive into the northbound lane, passing a vehicle in front of it in an unsafe manner, and drive through the intersection at a high rate of speed.
The officer sped up to get behind the truck. The driver of the truck, later identified as 34-year-old Robert Wade, immediately took a right. The speed limit is 25 mph and the officer had to speed up to 56 mph to catch up to Wade.
The officer continued to pursue the truck. At one point, Wade’s truck kicked up the dust from the dirt road, causing the officer to lose sight of the truck. Shortly after, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper observed Wade’s truck traveling eastbound on Interstate 90. According to the trooper, Wade was traveling 108 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone.
Eventually, Wade took the 109 Exit ramp and drove into the oncoming lane while rounding the corner for the overpass. Wade cut through the parking area of Town Pump and through the pump area where many pedestrians travel. Wade attempted to drive back through the fuel pumps before being stopped by contact from the trooper’s vehicle. Wade’s truck spun out, contacting a Brown’s Towing Truck.
Wade was identified along with a female passenger. There was a dog in the vehicle and two alcoholic drinks in the center console cup holders. Wade was sweating profusely and made a statement about “Al-Qaeda” chasing him. Wade refused to answer further questions. Wade was transported to the Missoula County Detention Center where a DUI investigation was conducted. He was subsequently arrested.
On May 26, 2022, Wade made his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court. Deputy County Attorney Marthe VanSickle provided the following statement.
“He drove all over town in a reckless manner, putting many people at risk, barely missing a bicyclist and nearly running a driver of a school bus off of a road” VanSickle said. “His criminal history is 55 pages long. We are concerned about his significant criminal history in California and Washington, and the fact that this stolen truck was out of Washington. Given his history and attempt to evade law enforcement in this case, he presents a flight risk and a danger to the community.”
VanSickle requested that Judge Landee Holloway set Wade’s bail at $50,000. Holloway made the following ruling.
“Based upon a PSA score of a level three, the egregious allegations that are here with regard to the affidavit of probable cause, and putting so many people at risk, Mr. Wade, my concern is your ability to come back to court and the propensity that you could create more victims in our community,” Holloway said. “I will impose a bail of $75,000.”
Wade is currently being charged with two counts of felony criminal endangerment, felony theft, driving under the influence, fleeing from or eluding a peace officer, and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.
The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.