A 38-year-old Helena man is accused of crashing a stolen vehicle.
Steven Joseph Johnson is charged with felony theft, misdemeanor paraphernalia possession, misdemeanor failure to notify after an accident resulting in damage to property upon a highway, misdemeanor notice of accident, misdemeanor duty to give information or render aid, misdemeanor reckless driving and misdemeanor driving with as suspended license.
On April 25, law enforcement took a report of a stolen 2013 GMC Terrain from a parking lot near North Montana Avenue. The complainant reported she had met the defendant on April 24 and learned he was homeless and in need of a place to stay. The complainant agreed to let him stay at her home but later asked him to leave, and he agreed.
Later that day, the complainant noticed that her vehicle was missing. She suspected the defendant had taken her vehicle and noted that her keys were no longer on the table. The complainant did not give the defendant permission to use her vehicle, which is valued at approximately $8,500.
The following day, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office deputies were dispatched to the Liab-Ation Station after the complainant's son had located the vehicle at the bar. While deputies were responding to the location, the son reported that the defendant had left the bar and crashed the vehicle into a fence near the intersection of Applegate Drive and Hope Road. The defendant reportedly fled the scene on foot.
Montana Highway Patrol troopers observed the white GMC had gone through a fence, over a tree in the yard of a residence and into a swing set, and it came to rest after striking a storage shed where it caused damage to a 2016 Harley Davidson stored inside. Bar employees confirmed the defendant was the person inside the bar that night.
The registered owner of the vehicle, who had sold it to the complainant just two days prior, gave consent to search the vehicle. During that search a glass pipe commonly used to smoke meth was found in the vehicle.
All charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.