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Suspect in parking lot collision charged with criminal endangerment

by DERRICK PERKINS
Hagadone News Network | March 18, 2024 12:00 AM

A Whitefish man accused of repeatedly ramming another vehicle with his pickup truck in the parking lot of a big box retailer in Kalispell earlier this month faces a felony charge in Flathead County District Court.

Johnathan Troy Howard, 49, is expected to be arraigned on one count of criminal endangerment before Judge Heidi Ulbricht on March 21. He was released from county jail March 8 on his own recognizance.

Witnesses, including the victim, told investigators that Howard’s 2004 Ford F-150 jumped a curb and rammed a parked 1998 Toyota Tacoma about 5:34 p.m., March 5, according to court documents. Howard reversed the Ford in an unsuccessful attempt to extricate himself from the curb before allegedly ramming the Toyota again. 

The victim, inside the Toyota at the time, told investigators that Howard then drove into his pickup a third time, according to court documents.

The victim recounted confronting Howard, preventing him from leaving and taking his keys. When Howard opened the door to his truck during the confrontation, a can of air duster fell out, court documents said. 

Arriving Kalispell Police officers, responding to reports of a fistfight in the parking lot sparked by a collision, described the Toyota as suffering heavy damage to the driver-side rear door. A repair shop later put the damages at $8,339.84, court documents said.

Howard, according to court documents, initially accused the victim of punching him in the face. After hearing from other witnesses, officers arrested Howard, who allegedly said he was on his fourth day off of Suboxone, an opioid, court documents alleged. Suboxone is typically used to treat opioid use disorder.  

Officers later found two cans of air duster in the box in the bed of Howard’s truck, court documents said.

Howard’s criminal history includes a 2002 felony drug possession conviction and a 2011 conviction in Washington for counterfeit substances, according to court documents. On probation at the time of his arrest in Kalispell, Howard’s past includes multiple violations and revocations, prosecutors noted in charging documents.

If convicted, Howard faces up to 10 years in Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.