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Whitefish man arrested after standoff given deferred sentence

Hagadone News Network | August 16, 2023 1:00 AM

A man arrested following a police chase and standoff near Columbia Falls in April 2022 received a six-year deferred sentence in Flathead County District Court late last month.

Initially charged with one count of assault with a weapon, Quinn Garrett Lewis, 44, of Whitefish pleaded guilty to criminal endangerment in May. He struck a plea deal that same month.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend he receive a seven-year sentence to the state Department of Health and Human Services with five of those years suspended. Lewis was allowed to argue for a different sentence as per the terms of the agreement.

On July 27, Judge Dan Wilson handed down the deferred sentence along with credit for 419 days of time served. In a letter filed shortly before sentencing, Jennifer Crowley of Eagleview West and The Life Care Management Institute, wrote that Lewis had taken steps to manage his mental health and rebuild his life in the wake of his arrest.

Lewis takes medication for bipolar illness and suffers from a traumatic brain injury, Crowley wrote in the letter. He has since established a primary care provider and a behavioral health specialist, and receives help from a support team, according to the letter.

“He suffered a health crisis which disabled him temporarily, causing impaired judgment and a false sense of reality,” Crowley wrote. “He has gained tremendous insight into his own health and need for proper attention and care, and lifelong need for daily management and support.”

Lewis’ arrest came after deputies responded to Armory Road in Whitefish on April 27 for a report of a disturbance involving a weapon, according to a press release issued by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. Lewis allegedly had aimed a gun at his father, officials said.

He also fired off two rounds from a .44 caliber revolver during the disagreement, court documents said.

Deputies, joined by police officers from Whitefish and Columbia Falls, later located Lewis in a pickup truck. Authorities allegedly saw Lewis pointing a handgun at the roof of the truck.

Evading several attempts to stop him, Lewis parked the truck near the intersection of Halfmoon Road and Tamarack Lane. He exited the truck briefly to dance around, court documents said.

Law enforcement personnel at the standoff reported being lit up by a green laser, according to court documents.

Authorities took Lewis into custody with the arrival of SWAT. A subsequent search of his vehicle turned up multiple firearms, including a .44 caliber revolver, and open containers of alcohol.

Prosecutors referenced Lewis’ mental state early on in the case, particularly when it came to his bail, which initially was set at $500,000. In court documents, prosecutors said they asked for the large sum in part because of his declining mental health and a cache of weapons found in his Armory Road cabin.