New trial ordered for man who set roadblock in police chase

March 7, 2019 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a man who says he was making a citizen’s arrest when he blocked a Helena street with his truck and trailer to stop a motorcyclist who was leading police on a high-speed chase.

Wednesday’s 4-3 decision overturns Ronald Parsons’ misdemeanor negligent endangerment and reckless driving conviction and orders a lower court to hold a new trial.

Parsons’ 2016 roadblock resulted in the motorcyclist crashing when he tried to drive on the curb.


Police charged Parsons with the misdemeanor offenses, saying he acted with disregard for public safety.

The opinion written by Justice Dirk Sandefur says the trial judge wrongly prevented Parsons from arguing that he acted in line with Montana’s citizen’s arrest law that allows a private person to “use reasonable force to detain the arrested person.”