BY RANDY DOCKENDORF
A prisoner who allegedly assaulted a Turner County deputy sheriff and escaped during a transport was arrested Friday night in Yankton.
Tyson Shawn Wessels, 42, had remained at large since Tuesday and had led authorities on a manhunt covering at least South Dakota and Minnesota. He was considered dangerous and was wanted on numerous charges in Lincoln, Yankton and Clay counties.
The Sioux Falls Area Fugitive Task Force successfully apprehended Wessels around 6:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Facebook page. Wessels was taken into custody without incident in the 500 block of West Fourth St. in Yankton.
Wessels was wanted out of Lincoln County for aggravated assault on law enforcement (Class 2 felony), kidnapping (Class C felony), two counts of escape from custody (Class 4 felony), grand theft (Class 4 felony), grand theft (Class 5 felony) and two counts of simple assault on law enforcement (Class 6 felony).
A Class C felony carries a sentence of life imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.
A Class 2 felony carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
A Class 4 felony carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
A Class 5 felony carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
A Class 6 felony carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
Wessels also had warrants out of Yankton County for contempt of court and out of Clay County for first-degree reckless burning and accessory to a felony.
Wessels is currently being held in the Yankton County Jail.
The Sioux Falls Area Fugitive Task Force consists of U.S. Marshals, Lincoln County Deputies and Minnehaha County Deputies. The task force was assisted by the Yankton Police Department and SWAT team, Yankton County Sheriff, South Dakota DCI, and the South Dakota Highway Patrol and SWAT team.
Wessels was being transported Tuesday from a Turner County court appearance in Parker back to the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls. During the transport, Wessels allegedly assaulted the Turner County deputy on Interstate 29 south of Sioux Falls. The prisoner escaped from custody and fled in the patrol vehicle.
The deputy was taken to a Sioux Falls hospital for treatment of injuries.
Wessels was believed to have switched vehicles, abandoning the Turner County patrol car and traveling in a 2004 blue F-250 crew cab stolen near Worthing. Late Tuesday night, the Lincoln County sheriff’s department reported the blue F-250 was located near Steen, Minnesota, in Rock County, Minnesota.
At that point, authorities determined Wessels was no longer in shackles and had changed clothes. He was then suspected of driving a stolen silver 2010 Chrysler Town & Country minivan with Minnesota plates.
On its Facebook page Friday night, the Lincoln County sheriff’s office credited the assistance provided by the general public and media in apprehending Wessels.
“We cannot thank the public and media enough for all the phone calls and messages that were sent in to help us catch this dangerous person,” the post said. “We also want to thank all the agencies in the tri-state area that helped with this investigation.”
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