TYNDALL — Three fugitives remain at large after a Sunday night high-speed chase that involved a stolen police car, 10 agencies and covered about 50 miles between Tabor and Marty.
Four suspects fled an accident scene by stealing a police car, which set off a chase exceeding 90 miles per hour until the officer’s car ran out of gas.
One person was found and taken into custody while the other three eluded authorities who used a canine and helicopter as part of the search.
For now, Bon Homme County Sheriff Mark Maggs declined to name those involved in the incident, including the three still at large.
“We are getting out the paperwork to our (Bon Homme County) state’s attorney for arrest warrants that will be issued,” he told the Press & Dakotan Monday. “At that point, we will release their identities and ask the public’s help in capturing them.
The pursuit and search lasted a total of about six hours, Maggs said.
The incident began when a Bon Homme County deputy sheriff and a Tyndall Police Department officer were investigating a one-vehicle, non-injury accident near Tabor about 8:45 p.m. Sunday. The car involved in the accident contained six persons and went into the ditch.
The two law enforcement officers responded to the scene along S.D. Highway 50, about a half-mile west of Tabor.
Upon arriving separately at the scene, the two authorities found six people along with the vehicle in the ditch. The officers divided up the six individuals between the two law enforcement vehicles to begin determining the parties’ identities and the facts surrounding the accident. The authorities could also determine outstanding arrest warrants, if any, for the six people
Two of the individuals, a man and a woman, were taken to the Bon Homme County deputy sheriff’s car. The deputy and police officer began questioning them about the cause of the accident.
Meanwhile, the other four people were kept in the Tyndall police officer’s car, Maggs said. Three persons were placed in the back seat, while the fourth person was placed in the front passenger seat.
“The four people were waiting in the car because it was cooler and because of the large number of bugs in the area,” Maggs said. “The car was left running, but (the officers) didn’t have an inkling that (those waiting in the car) were going to take the vehicle.”
While the law enforcement officers were in the Bon Homme County deputy’s car, the man in the front seat of the Tyndall police car climbed into the driver’s seat and drove away from the scene.
The escape set off a high-speed chase that wound through the backroads of Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties, Maggs said.
“At that point, the two officers began pursuit,” he said. “One of the two (persons with the deputy’s car) had been taken into custody, and the other person (a female) was left behind in the ditch.”
The pursuit continued west on Highway 50 at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour, Maggs said. Once the pursuit passed Avon, the lead vehicle left Highway 50 and turned onto 302nd Street. At that point, the chase took place on gravel roads.
In the meantime, other agencies were notified of the incident and were joining the pursuit. At one point, 10 agencies took part in the pursuit or search.
“Once we got off the highway, we never encountered another vehicle,” Maggs said. “We kind of jogged around, working to the south and west. The pursuit continued to 309th Street.”
The pursuit continued into southern Charles Mix County and entered Yankton Sioux tribal land, at which point the authorities took a different approach, Maggs said.
“Once we were on tribal land, we just had the (Yankton Sioux) officers who were engaging in the pursuit go around us,” he said. “They become the lead in the pursuit while we became back-up.”
The chase ended when the Tyndall police car ran out of gas west of Greenwood and south of Marty.
“The four individuals got out of the vehicle and fled on foot,” Maggs said. “One was captured immediately on tribal land, so the Yankton Sioux Tribe police took her into custody.”
The search continued for the other three persons, involving 10 agencies: the South Dakota Highway Patrol; South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks; the Bon Homme County, Charles Mix County and Douglas County sheriff departments; the Yankton Sioux Tribe; the Wagner, Avon, Springfield and Yankton police departments.
“The Yankton Police Department came with its canine to help, and the Highway Patrol put its plane into the air,” Maggs said. “When the patrol was unable to locate (the escapees), and the dog was unable to pick up or track the scent, we called off the search around 2:30 or 3 in the morning.”
Two men and one woman remain at large from the chase, the sheriff said.
The man who was detained in the Bon Homme County deputy sheriff’s car was charged with possession of stolen property, ingestion of a controlled substance, obstruction of law enforcement and false impersonation, Maggs said.
The woman left behind in the ditch near Tabor managed to escape the accident scene, the sheriff said. “She was never identified, and she was gone before the next officers arrived,” he said.
Anyone with information about the incident or escapees can contact the Bon Homme County sheriff’s office at (605) 589-3942.
The Charles Mix County sheriff’s office and Yankton Sioux Tribe law enforcement office did not respond immediately to a Press & Dakotan request for comment or information.
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