HELENA (AP) — A coroner’s jury cleared Lewis and Clark County deputies of wrongdoing in a man’s suicide near Canyon Ferry Reservoir.
Josh Aaron Vestre shot himself while being pursued by officers attempting to conduct a welfare check after he made suicidal statements.
A former deputy, Joshua Schmidt, testified during a coroner’s inquest Friday that he instructed reserve deputies to follow Vestre’s vehicle at a normal rate of speed.
However, because of spotty radio communications, the deputies did not hear his instruction to back off after Vestre turned off the main road. Schmidt said he didn’t want to “force his hand.”
Vestre, 46, got out of his vehicle and shot himself.
The Independent Record reports a coroner’s jury deliberated for 15 minutes before agreeing Vestre’s death was not due to criminal activity.