If you’re living in the Flathead and still find that leaving your keys in your car is the best way to keep track of them, you might want to consider buying a key hook after this week.
On Aug. 11, Flathead County Sheriff’s officers attempted to arrest two Nebraska fugitives who had been working at the Blue Moon Nite Club in Columbia Falls for the last month. Both the men fled. One of them, Joshua Hansen, 18, allegedly stole a nearby car using keys left inside it, and led police on a chase from Columbia Falls to Glacier National Park, where officers had set up a barricade. Hansen then crashed the car into a Park Service truck, got out and ran, eluding the officers for all of 15 minutes.
The other fugitive fared better. After fleeing into woods near the Blue Moon, Michael Dugan, 44, was able to evade capture as of press time.
According to Under Sheriff Mike Meehan, Dugan and Hansen came to the Flathead because of Dugan’s family connections, a past girlfriend who lives there and his general knowledge of the area. Dugan had been serving time for theft in Nebraska when he, Hansen and another prisoner allegedly overpowered a guard and made their escape June 28. The third escapee has already been captured in Colorado.
On Friday, a woman living on Whitefish Stage Road reported a man matching Dugan’s description coming to her door and asking to use her phone because his car had broken down. At the time she had not seen a photograph of the fugitive, and allowed him to use her phone. Dugan was apparently polite, thanking her when he finished his call.
He may have been a bit less than polite Saturday night. That evening, a silver 2002 Ford extended cab pickup was stolen in the vicinity of Whitefish Stage Road where Dugan had last been seen. The keys, according to Meehan, had once again been left in the vehicle.