HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – A Havre teenager alleged to be the driver in a high-speed chase through Havre earlier this month that ended when a car flipped over near the junction of US Highways 2 and 87 has been arraigned in Hill County District Court.
19-year-old Jalen Jaret Watson, also known as JJ Nault, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of criminal endangerment, one count of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and one count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs. He also entered not guilty pleas to the misdemeanors of fleeing or eluding a Peace Officer and driving under the influence of drugs (1st offense).
The arraignment was held Monday morning by Judge Kaydee Snipes-Ruiz in Hill County District Court.
Court documents claim that on April 5th at 6:28 PM, Havre Police attempted a traffic stop on a 2004 Chevy Impala traveling eastbound on 1st Street after they were informed the vehicle’s registration was expired. Law enforcement also observed Jalen Watson, who had warrants out for his arrest, driving the vehicle.
The vehicle eluded police and ended up speeding west down US Highway 2. Officers report that Watson passed multiple vehicles at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, and at one point was traveling over 125 miles per hour.
When the chase reached the intersection with 19th Avenue West, Watson is believed to have traveled in the left-turn only lane and into oncoming traffic at speeds of over 100 mph.
At the junction with US Highway 87, a Deputy positioned their vehicle to prevent Watson from continuing on US 2. Watson attempted to turn onto US 87 from the oncoming lane of traffic, but lost control of the vehicle and drifted sideways due to the excessive speed it was traveling. The Impala then skidded sideways into a ditch, rolled over, and came to rest upside down.
There were two other passengers in the vehicle, but they exited the vehicle and do not appear to have been arrested.
The affidavit states that Watson was arrested, acknowledged he had an outstanding warrant, and told Police there were drugs in the vehicle.
While interacting with Watson, an Officer says they noticed Watson appeared to be impaired, as his eyes were glassy and red and he had a dazed look on his face.
Watson was transported to Northern Montana Hospital for evaluation and signed a waiver allowing authorities to view his medical records.
Watson refused to provide a blood sample, but a toxicology screen that Watson consented to release showed a presence of amphetamines, opiates, and THC.
Watson admitted to being the driver in the pursuit and told officers he smoked methamphetamine around two hours before the pursuit.
The Tri-Agency Task Force was granted a warrant to search the Impala. Officers found a bag of suspected methamphetamine with a weight of 1.3 grams, a paper bindle of suspected methamphetamine with a weight of 1.7 grams, 1.3 grams of suspected heroin, and a Marlboro box containing four bags of suspected methamphetamine weighing 16.2 grams. The suspected meth and heroin both tested presumptively positive for the identified substances.
During an interview with the Tri-Agency Task Force, Watson admitted to making a sale of drugs in Havre.
Watson had already been facing two felony criminal endangerment counts and one count of misdemeanor fleeing from or eluding a Peace Officer in an active case for his alleged role in a high speed chase back in January. Watson also entered not guilty pleas to those charges on Monday.
A bail modification hearing has been set for April 26th.
This post has been updated following an arraignment hearing