Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On February 20, 2023, a Missoula County Sheriff’s Office deputy was at a gas station in the 5300 block of West Harrier Street when he heard a vehicle engine revving loudly from the direction of Airway Boulevard.

The deputy observed a white truck accelerating at a high rate of speed and sliding sideways around a turn. The truck struck the curb and appeared to go airborne. It went over the curb and struck a green electrical transformer box on the corner. 

At this time, the deputy provided dispatch with his location and requested a second deputy to respond. The truck briefly stopped in the grass, but then continued driving westbound on Harrier. The deputy got back in his patrol vehicle, activated his overhead lights and siren, and pulled behind the truck. The truck continued to drive for several blocks, but eventually stopped. 

Put Your Hands Up

The driver, later identified as Ethan Renfro, immediately swung open the driver’s side door and threw his keys toward the deputy’s vehicle. The Deputy commanded Renfro to put his hands up and exit the vehicle. Court documents indicate Renfro quickly put his hands out and pulled them back into the truck several times, which was best described as the children’s game “peak a boo”. 

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Renfro got out of the vehicle, but refused to put his hands up. According to the deputy, Renfro appeared to be dazed and his slow body movement indicated to the deputy that he was impaired. A short time later, Renfro ran from the deputy. The deputy chased after Renfro and found him lying on his stomach in the grass approximately 50 yards from where the vehicles were parked.  

The deputy shined his duty pistol light on Renfro and told him to show his hands. Instead, Renfro jumped to his feet and started walking at the deputy in an aggressive manner. Renfro said, “do you want to die?” and continued to approach the deputy.

The Suspect Fights With the Deputy 

As Renfro was approaching, the deputy put his pistol away and removed his flashlight from his vest. At this point, Renfro was within arm's reach of the deputy and reached out toward him. Renfro grappled with the deputy and actively swung his fists at the deputy’s face. The deputy grabbed Renfro and swept his legs. Renfro stumbled and grabbed the deputy’s waist. At this time, the deputy punched Renfro three times in his head. 

This caused Renfro to fall to the ground where he continued to try and pull at the deputy. While the deputy fought with Renfro on the ground, a male voice shouted “you got it, sir?”, to which the deputy replied, “no, come over here”. With the help of the good samaritan, the deputy was able to place Renfro in handcuffs. 

The Suspect is Still Resisting

At this time, another deputy along with several Missoula Police Department officers arrived. Renfro had to be picked up completely off the ground and carried to the deputy's patrol vehicle, where he continued to resist. MPD officers provided a Wrap Restraint and it took approximately six officers to get Renfro under control and into the restraint.  

Renfro was transported to the Missoula County Detention Center. He is currently being charged with felony assault on a peace officer, felony fleeing from or eluding a peace officer resulting in serious bodily injury, obstructing a peace officer, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an accident, and reckless driving. 

On February 21, 2023, Renfro made his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court and his bond was set at $15,000. 

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.

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