A Billings woman is behind bars after police say she tried cashing stolen checks and led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through Bozeman in a stolen truck.

Brandi Nicole Hodgin, 27, was ordered held in the Gallatin County jail on Thursday on $100,000 bail. She has been charged with four felonies — forgery, theft and two counts of criminal endangerment.

According to charging documents:

At about 9 a.m. Wednesday, a man reported to Bozeman police that his checkbook had been stolen from his vehicle.

About 20 minutes later, Hodgin cashed a stolen check for $875 at a 19th Avenue bank.

At about 12:40 p.m., Hodgin tried cashing two more stolen checks for a combined $1,400 at another 19th Avenue bank. The teller, who had been notified of Hodgin’s earlier attempt to cash a stolen check, called police.

Officers arrived at the bank’s drive-through and tried to pull over Hodgin, who was driving a white Dodge Ram truck. She didn’t stop and drove south on 19th Avenue, reaching speeds of more than 80 mph in 25 mph and 45 mph zones.

Hodgin eluded officers from multiple agencies for about 35 miles. Due to concerns over public safety, officers then broke off their pursuit.

However, Hodgin was spotted shortly afterward, traveling north on U.S. Highway 191. Officers again tried to pull her over, and she again didn’t stop.

Officers laid down spikes at the intersection of Gooch Hill Road and Huffine Lane. With her tires deflated, Hodgin continued east on Huffine Lane before driving off the road, crashing through a 10-foot metal fence and coming to a rest in a creek within 20 feet of a home.

Hodgin got out of her vehicle and tried to run away, but officers caught her.

The vehicle Hodgin was driving was recently stolen from a Billings dealership.

During her appearance in Gallatin County Justice Court, deputy county attorney James Greenbaum requested $50,000 bail.

“This was just a crazy kind of conduct,” Greenbaum said.

Defense attorney Eric Brewer argued that a $10,000 bail would be more reasonable.

“I fail to see how any amount of bail is going to protect the public,” Brewer said.

However, Judge Rick West imposed a $100,000 bail, saying the alleged offenses were very serious in nature.

“The court does deem this person to be a very large danger to the community because of the series of events,” West said.

Hodgin has a pending drug charge in Yellowstone County.

Maximum penalties for the four combined felonies are 50 years in prison, $200,000 in fines or both.

Whitney Bermes can be reached at wbermes@dailychronicle.com or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at @wabermes.



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