NELIGH, Neb. — A South Dakota man faces four charges connected to a high-speed, multi-county chase Monday morning in northeast Nebraska.
Matthew Waters, 34, of Colton was arrested after the pursuit, which began in Cedar County, Nebraska, and ended to the west in Antelope County, Nebraska.
He was arrested for felony flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, assault on an officer with use of a vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP).
The incident began around 7:30 a.m. Monday after the Nebraska State Patrol received information from the driver’s wife that he “was suicidal somewhere in Nebraska,” NSP Capt. Paul Hattan told the Antelope County News.
Authorities were notified Monday morning that the allegedly suicidal man may be in the area with a firearm, according to the Cedar County sheriff’s office.
The authorities used technology to track down the driver, Hattan told the News. “We started to ping the phone and found a location,” he said.
Authorities successfully tracked down the man, according to the Cedar County sheriff’s office. At approximately 8:14 a.m., the sheriff’s office and the Laurel, Nebraska, police department located the subject and his vehicle in Laurel.
Officers attempted to make contact with the driver.
At that point, Waters led the authorities on a westbound chase that crossed multiple counties in northeast Nebraska, according to Cedar County Deputy Sheriff Chad Claussen.
“The pursuit started in Laurel, continued west on Highway 20 and ended just west of Highway 14 on Highway 20 in Antelope County,” Claussen told the Press & Dakotan on Tuesday.
Other law enforcement agencies joined in the pursuit, according to a NSP news release.
At approximately 8:15 a.m. Monday, troopers were informed that the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office was in pursuit of a vehicle traveling westbound on Highway 20 near Laurel. The vehicle, a Buick LeSabre, had previously been reported to law enforcement as potentially containing a suicidal party.
“A trooper joined the pursuit and eventually became the lead unit as the vehicle continued westbound on Highway 20 east of Plainview,” the news release said.
“During the pursuit, which reached speeds of 90 miles per hour, the suspect vehicle swerved toward oncoming traffic on several occasions. The suspect driver also intentionally made contact with pursuing officers’ patrol units multiple times throughout the pursuit.”
The authorities contacted school districts about the high-speed chase through their area, Claussen said.
“Law enforcement recommended that schools go in to lock down as a safety precaution,” he said. “Randolph, Osmond, and Plainview schools were contacted. “
The high-speed chase came to an end when law enforcement was successful in deflating the tires on Waters’ vehicle, according to the NSP news release.
“As the pursuit reached Brunswick in Antelope County, a trooper successfully deployed spike strips to slow the vehicle,” the release said. “Another trooper then utilized a tactical vehicle intervention to bring the vehicle to a stop. The subject was then taken into custody.”
Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol, working with the Cedar and Antelope County Sheriff’s Offices and the Laurel and Randolph Police departments, made the arrest, the release added.
Waters was alone in the car during the pursuit, Claussen said.
Waters, who had several weapons, was taken into custody without incident and incarcerated in the Antelope County Jail in Neligh, Nebraska, Hattan told the News.
The Cedar County Attorney’s office cannot comment at this time on possible charges it may file arising from Monday’s pursuit, according to Special Deputy County Attorney Ed Matney.
However, he told the Press & Dakotan that charges could be filed in the future.
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