Morton Man Accused of Striking Deputy’s Vehicle During High-Speed Pursuit Wednesday Night 


Bail has been set at $200,000 for a Morton man accused of striking a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s vehicle during a high-speed pursuit that spanned 36 miles on U.S. Highway 12 on Wednesday. 

A deputy had initially started following the defendant, who was later identified at Aaden J. Ray, 20, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Glenoma Road just before 9:40 p.m. on June 1 for driving with expired vehicle registration and having only one functioning headlight. 

While following Ray’s vehicle westbound on U.S. Highway 12 toward Morton, the deputy observed the vehicle jerk from the fog line to the centerline, cross the fog line a few times, accelerate above the 55 mph speed limit and cross the centerline, according to court documents. The deputy then activated his overhead lights — at which point Ray’s vehicle accelerated and drove on the rumble strips. 

The deputy estimated Ray’s vehicle was traveling over 100 mph, according to court documents. 

After an “extensive pursuit” where Ray reportedly crossed the center and fog lines multiple times, deputies set up a spike-strip to try and force Ray’s vehicle to stop. “It appeared the attempt was successful, however the suspect vehicle continued at a high rate of speed,” according to court documents. 

Ray’s vehicle continued to speed westbound on Highway 12, passing a semi-truck on the right shoulder as it went. 

Deputies then boxed Ray’s vehicle in while he was driving and slowed their speed in an attempt to slow Ray’s vehicle. 

“Initially this worked and the vehicle slowed,” but, “The vehicle then sped back up and struck the rear of Deputy (Dan) Riordan’s patrol vehicle, causing damage,” according to court documents. 

Deputies ultimately ended the pursuit by forcing Ray’s vehicle off the road with a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuver. 

When his vehicle stopped, Ray allegedly exited and began to flee on foot — at which point deputies reportedly tased him in order to detain him. 

“Ray then went into what deputies describe as ‘excited delirium’ from the possible consumption of narcotics,” according to court documents. He became more responsive after deputies administered Narcan, a medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. 

Deputies later obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and found a glass pipe that field-tested positive for methamphetamine, according to court documents. 

Ray was booked into the Lewis County Jail just after 2:25 a.m. on June 2 and has since been charged with one count each of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, second-degree assault, hit-and-run to an attended vehicle, driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance. The most severe charge, second-degree assault, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. 

While Ray has limited criminal history, Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello recommended the high bail amount out of concern for community safety. 

“The state feels that there is a great risk for community safety,” Masiello said during Ray’s preliminary appearance hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday. 

While Defense Attorney Rachael Tiller asked Judge Joely Yeager to lower that bail amount to no more than $50,000 due to Ray's lack of criminal history and his financial situation, Yeager agreed with Masiello’s community safety concerns and granted the higher bail request. 

Yeager stated that Ray’s alleged behavior “(gives) the court great concern not only for him being a flight risk but it doesn’t give me a lot confidence that he won’t interfere with the administration of justice.” 

His next scheduled court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled for Thursday, June 9.