An hours-long manhunt in East Missoula ended Tuesday afternoon with the arrest of a man who hid in a mobile home after leading officers on a chase in a stolen pickup that he crashed into a house and a tree.
William “Billy” Dale Newhoff was found following a door-to-door search by the special response team of the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, as well as one of its K-9 officers and members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service. He was arrested without incident.
Newhoff has fled from the law before. In 2009 he and another man escaped from the Mineral County Jail, only to be arrested days later near Troy, about 150 miles away.
In Tuesday's incident, U.S. marshals and deputies tried to arrest Newhoff, who was wanted on outstanding federal warrants for absconding, as he left the Aspen Motel in East Missoula, according to Sheriff T.J. McDermott.
State records list Newhoff as absconding from the supervision of the Billings office of probation and parole.
He fled in a stolen vehicle, at one point driving through a church parking lot and over a berm, damaging a house in the 700 block of Dakota Street before crashing into a tree at the east end of Speedway, authorities said.
McDermott said that when Newhoff fled into the Scenic Mobile Home Park, he appeared to be armed with a handgun. Detectives continued to search the area after Newhoff’s arrest, but did not immediately locate a weapon.
K-9 officer Santxo led his handler, Deputy Justin Uriarte, and the armed response team from the crashed truck through the mobile home park and to the unit where Newhoff was eventually found, McDermott said. The sheriff’s office started a new K-9 program in 2016.
During the chase, 35-year-old Newhoff drove the stolen truck through a five-foot-high wooden fence, across the backyard and into the corner of a house belonging to Jo-Anne and James Rude on Dakota Street. The impact tore a chunk out of the rear corner of the house.
The Rudes said they were away from home at the time, but quickly returned after a neighbor called to tell them what had happened.
Armed officers staged at the former Mount Jumbo Elementary School, which is currently vacant. They surrounded the mobile home park, placing observers in a private home on Golden Nugget Road overlooking the trailers.
A helicopter from Two Bear Air was called in during the more than three-hour search, and the sheriff said he was proud of the cooperation between his officers, the marshals, Missoula police and other agencies who assisted.
The University of Montana issued an alert during the search, and Missoula College was locked down for several hours until Newhoff was located. Residents in the East Missoula area were also warned to keep their doors locked, and the sheriff said they utilized the reverse 911 system to alert homeowners to the threat.
According to state records, Newhoff has prior convictions for theft, burglary and forgery in Missoula, and in 2002 was sentenced to a decade with the Department of Corrections.
His Department of Corrections records shows Newhoff has a variety of tattoos including one that reads “Dear Mom Thanks For The Support Through Hard Time, You Are Most Loved And Appreciated Always Your Son (sic)” and “Loved By Many, Hated By Few.”
After Newhoff's 2009 escape from the Mineral County Jail, he was eventually sentenced to nine months in federal prison after being charged with escape. That sentence was supposed to be served after he had served his other criminal sentences.
He was later found guilty in federal court being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2007, as well as being a felon in possession of a stolen firearm for stealing a .22-caliber pistol from a Missoula home. He was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison on top of his other sentences.