Woman admits cop assault and high speed chase

Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, September 26, 2019
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            Adrienne Upshaw

A woman has admitted throwing bolt cutters at a police officer following a high-speed chase through two counties that ended with the driver escaping the scene.

Adrienne Upshaw, 36, recently appeared in custody in 22nd Judicial District Court and pleaded guilty to one felony count of assault on a peace officer, one felony count of obstruction and a misdemeanor count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

Upshaw told Judge Matt Wald that in May 2019, she was the passenger in a car being pursured by law enforcement from Columbus to Laurel and that she threw the bolt cutters and “assumed the fighting stance,” prompting officers to fire two bean-bag rounds at her.

Upshaw admitted she had created a distraction so the driver could escape.

Deputy Stillwater County Attorney Tom English said the driver still remains at large.

Sentencing was set for Oct. 17 and as of Wednesday, Upshaw remained in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.

Defense attorney Greg Paskell requested that Upshaw be released from jail to go care for her father, who has undergone surgery and was in need of assistance. English objected, arguing that no proof had been presented about the situation. English also noted that Upshaw was a danger to the community and law enforcement, and that the codefendant in the case was still at large.

Wald denied the request.


According to court documents, Upshaw was the passenger in a 2015 Kia Optima that Stillwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Toby Reissig attempted to stop for a traffic infraction on I-90 at 1:29 a.m. on May 14.

Despite the deputy activating his lights and siren, the driver continued eastbound on I-90, prompting a pursuit that was joined by other deputies, Columbus police and MHP. During the pursuit, it was learned the Optima was stolen and that the suspects were believed to be armed with weapons. Speeds reached 95 mph and the Optima hit a set of spike strips at mile marker


The Optima began to slow down, ran over two orange construction cones that separated the eastbound and westbound lanes near a construction zone and finally came to a stop. The driver fled on foot and remains at large.

Upshaw got out of the car and ran to an orange construction cone and appeared to hide something under it. She then returned to the car and grabbed a pair of bolt cutters from the trunk, according to court documents.

Holding the bolt cutters in one hand and an unknown black object in the other hand, Upshaw pointed both objects aggressively toward officers and refused to comply with verbal commands, according to court documents.

At one point, Upshaw yelled “…. you” and “what are you going to do about it?” according to court documents. Upshaw also “walked aggressively towards the officers” and refused to lay on the ground.

After yelling several warnings, Deputy Cole Waltner used a beanbag shotgun to shoot Upshaw’s forearm, which had no effect on her. The deputy fired a second bean-bag shot that hit Upshaw’s hip.

At that point, she threw the bolt cutters “with deadly force” directly at Columbus Police Officer Jason Ferguson, according to court documents.

“Ferguson was nearly struck by them, barely able to maneuver out of the way,” wrote Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde in court documents.

Upshaw then got on the ground and was arrested. Because law enforcement’s attention was focused on Upshaw, the driver was able to escape.

Found in the Optima were a syringe containing methamphetamine, a butane torch and a pipe.

Also assisting in the pursuit and search were Laurel police, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and the Billings Police Department.