Foreign national held on $50,000 following high speed pursuit
A foreign national attending college on a student visa is being held on $50,000 for allegedly reaching speeds of 96 mph on Highway 78 and failing to stop for law enforcement.
Mohammed Fahad Alyami, 25, appeared in district court Monday handcuffed and pleaded not guilty to one felony count of criminal endangerment.
Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde sought -- and received -- a bail amount of $50,000, citing Alyami’s driving record. Rohde said that local law enforcement has had contact with Alyami 18 different times and that since June of 2013, Alyami has been written 12 traffic citations and had several wrecks. He is a student at MSU-Billings and lives in Columbus.
Defense attorney Greg Paskell had requested a $10,000 bail amount, saying his client was not a criminal but rather is used to “driving under different conditions than we do.”
District Judge Blair Jones rejected Paskell’s argument saying that although Alyami was not pointing a gun at people, he was in essence “pointing car at them” which could be just as dangerous.
As of Wednesday, Alyami remained jailed in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.
According to court documents, Alyami was arrested on May 27 after law enforcement received multiple reports of him speeding on Nye Road, Highway 78 and through Columbus at as much as 96 mph, running other vehicles off the road and running a stop sign in Columbus. The initial report came in at 8:03 p.m.
One motorist reported that while driving on the Nye Road, Alyami veered into his lane, causing him to veer to avoid a collision. Another motorist reported watching Alyami travel at a high speed through Absarokee, crossing over into the wrong lane on a corner when another vehicle was approaching and two young girls on a nearby sidewalk, according to court documents.
Stillwater County Sheriff’s Sgt. Moses Richardson clocked Alyami at 96 mph in a 65 mph zone on Highway 78 and gave chase, but was unable to catch up with him, according to court documents. Once Alyami was stopped by law enforcement in Columbus, he smelled like alcohol and an open can of beer was found in the vehicle, according to court documents. Alyami failed multiple field sobriety movements and claimed to not be able to understand directions to perform others, saying he had been in the United States for two years and that Arabic was his first language.
During questioning by Sgt. Richardson, Alyami became upset and accused the deputy of “treating him like a terrorist and beating him up,” according to court documents.
If he does post bail, be must wear a SCRAM unit until the case is resolved. Rohde said immigration authorities are aware of the situation and have asked to be kept apprised.