At about 4:15 Tuesday morning, a Missoula Police officer observed a vehicle in the intersection of Broadway and Higgins that had been reported stolen earlier in the morning. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh says the vehicle was reportedly stolen from the 2200 block of South Higgins Avenue.

“When the officer spotted the vehicle, he attempted to initiate a traffic stop,” Welsh said. “Rather than doing so, the vehicle sped away racing through the north side of town, across the river, went through McCormick Park and at one point entered the 800 block of Roosevelt Street, which is in fact a dead end. At that point, the driver of the vehicle stopped and the driver was taken into custody.”

According to Welsh, the driver was identified as 18-year-old Damien Spataro and he now faces several charges.

“He had outstanding warrants for his arrest that were unrelated to this incident,” Welsh said. “However, it looks like based on the original theft and the flight from officers, he is being held on a charge of criminal endangerment, reckless eluding police, theft, felony and misdemeanor criminal mischief.”

Welsh says during the pursuit, Spataro was traveling at speeds higher than they speed limit.