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Ronan man dies after incident on Timberlane Road

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RONAN – Aaron Thiel, 35, of Ronan, was identified by Lake County Sheriff Don Bell as the man who died following an altercation with a vehicle while holding a fake gun.

Bell said law enforcement responded to Timberlane Road, about 1.5 miles from U.S. Highway 93 in Ronan, to a shirtless man who was said to be acting erratically on Friday, March 22, at around 9:35 a.m. The man was later identified as Thiel. He was allegedly waving a rifle on the roadway in traffic. 

“It was discovered that the rifle the male had was not a real firearm but was a very realistic looking air soft gun,” Bell said.  

Thiel was hit by a vehicle during the incident. “Prior to the arrival of law enforcement, another caller reported they had struck the male with their vehicle,” Bell said. “The male had pointed his rifle at them prior to being struck.”

Responding officers found the male unresponsive but alive. He was transported to a local emergency room by ambulance. 

Thiel was airlifted to a Missoula hospital where he died on Saturday, March 23, Bell said. 

The Lake County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol are investigating the incident. 

Thiel was transported to the Montana State Crime Lab for an autopsy.  


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