A Montana fugitive has pleaded innocent to allegations he pulled a rifle on law enforcement and led officers on a destructive hour-long car chase.
Kirk D. Riddle, 45, faces trial Feb. 1 in Benton County Superior Court for his alleged actions surrounding a standoff at a Prosser home.
He is charged with attempting to elude police and two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Meanwhile, his younger sister is accused of ignoring orders on Dec. 10 to evacuate the property, throwing rocks at authorities and helping Riddle escape by parking a running SUV outside the home’s front door.
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Vanessa L. Rogers, 43, appeared Friday in Benton County District Court on one gross misdemeanor count of obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Her arraignment was moved to Jan. 14.
Benton County sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Marshals went to the South Missimer Road property after getting a tip that Riddle was staying there. He was wanted on a felony warrant out of Flathead County, Mont.
Montana authorities warned that Riddle, who has a prior conviction for assault with a weapon, may be armed and using methamphetamine.
Riddle was not in the main home. The homeowner gave authorities permission to look for him in a trailer parked on the property, court documents said.
Deputies knocked on the door and announced who they were, but no one answered. An officer opened the door and was about to enter when there was “the sound of a long gun slide being racked” from the rear of the trailer, documents said.
Authorities yelled at Riddle to come out and show his hands, and he reportedly responded with an expletive for the deputies to leave.
Officers grabbed their rifles and surrounded the trailer, while also evacuating several people from inside the main home.
When Riddle came out of the trailer naked and holding a long gun, a deputy fired multiple shots at him because he refused to drop the weapon, court documents said. Riddle was not hit and quickly ran into the main home.
Prosecutors allege that Rogers let livestock loose on the property in an attempt to thwart authorities, then backed up a Chevy Suburban to the front door and left it running.
Riddle then got into the driver’s seat and took off through a neighbor’s pasture, damaging fences, gates and irrigation pipes in the process.
The chase covered back roads, rural terrain and Interstate 82 through both Benton and Yakima counties. Riddle ran stop signs, veered into oncoming traffic almost hitting three cars and nearly hit a person when he drove through their driveway, documents said.
Prosecutors said the Chevy sustained heavy damage and, at one point was dragging a fence, but Riddle kept going until the SUV was struck by the Tri-City Regional SWAT Team’s BearCat armored vehicle.
A rifle allegedly was found on on the Chevy’s front passenger seat. It was not loaded but ammunition was in the back of the vehicle.
Riddle is being held on $250,000 bail. He has an additional $50,000 for being a fugitive from justice, jail records show.
Rogers has been out of custody since posting bond on $1,000 bail, according to District Court officials.