GREAT FALLS – A wild street brawl at the center of Big Sandy’s small commercial district ended Monday with only minor injuries, but left many in the quiet farming town shocked by the sudden melee — which included a chain saw-wielding would-be assailant, a knife fight and ended with a stolen car racing out of town.
The brawl began when three men in a car pulled up in front of a coffee shop shortly after 2 p.m. Monday and a pickup carrying two men and two women stopped behind them, Chouteau County Sheriff Vern Burdick said.
“From what we’ve been able to gather, the initial dispute actually took place on Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, and the pickup gave chase to the sedan,” Burdick said.
The parties began fighting in the street.
“All the doors were flying open, and people were getting out and running around and hitting each other,” said Cherie Stiles, one of the owners of the Bear Paw Coffee Shop and Deli.
The commotion quickly drew the attention of those in the area.
“The street was lined with people,” said Jody Thornton, who was working at Sheehy Law Office.
At one point, one of the men in the pickup fired up a chain saw and began swinging it around. The man soon turned it off, and no one was injured, Burdick said.
One of the people in the pickup fled the farming town of 600 in the car and three others got in the pickup, stranding three men. One had a superficial stab wound.
The car was found just north of Big Sandy and impounded.
All seven of those involved have been identified, and four have been cited for disorderly conduct, Burdick said. There will be more charges, he said.
Burdick did not say what might have prompted the fight and did not release the names of those involved. They did not live in the county, he said.
Stiles said she was relieved the disruption didn’t happen an hour later.
“I was really glad school wasn’t out at the time, and there were no kids walking around down Main Street,” Stiles said. “We were lucky in a lot of ways.”