HAMILTON – A Missoula man was arrested after allegedly bashing his girlfriend’s face into a steering wheel, punching her in the side and then strangling her after she accused him of using methamphetamine.
Chad Allen Fite, 36, appeared Wednesday in Ravalli County Justice Court on a felony count of aggravated assault and misdemeanor charges of partner or family member assault, unlawful restraint, and theft.
Court records said the alleged assault occurred on June 15 when Fite and his girlfriend of six years decided to take a drive from Missoula to the Bitterroot Valley to go on a hike.
The couple stopped in Florence at a gas station. The woman told officers later that Fite was acting “very unusual” when he came outside. She accused him of using methamphetamine.
He responded by allegedly becoming upset and pushing her head down into the steering wheel of the car.
Despite the altercation, the couple continued their trip and their argument about Fite’s use of the drug. At one point, the woman said she saw some of the drug in Fite’s pocket and reached for it.
In turn, he pulled behind Hamilton’s Verizon store and punched her in the side with his closed fist.
The woman told officers that Fite then put both hands around her neck and started to strangle her while pinning her to the headrest of the driver’s seat. She felt lightheaded and thought she was about to pass out so she dug her fingernails into Fite’s cheek.
Fite let go of her.
She got out of the car and called 9-1-1. Fite drove away.
When officers found the woman, she had two black eyes and red marks on her throat and bruise on her right side.
Fite was arrested in Missoula on a warrant that included information on a 1998 conviction for sexual intercourse without consent. On the state’s sex offender registry, Fite’s was listed a Missoula transient in lieu of an address.
Acting Justice of the Peace Jennifer Ray set bail at $10,000.