Juvenile in stolen car provokes chase

By Sarah Pridgeon

A juvenile in a stolen vehicle was the subject of a manhunt last week that began on I-90 and ended on the D Road when the suspect left the car and fled on foot.

Early on Tuesday evening, Deputy Ed Robinson attempted to pull the subject over on I-90 towards the Sundance area, says the sheriff. According to court reports, Robinson was on patrol when he heard a broadcast of a suspected drunk driver headed west.

Robinson observed traffic from the north side of the roadway entrance at the milepost 160 interchange. When the suspect vehicle came into view, he reports that it was being followed by a black suburban, from which someone put their arm out of the passenger window and pointed at the suspect car.

Robinson reports that he followed the two vehicles, passing the black suburban as the driver once again pointed at the suspect car. He then saw the suspect vehicle weave in its lane twice, upon which he initiated a stop on the vehicle.

The vehicle stopped but, as Robinson exited his patrol car and began to approach, it sped away. Robinson began to pursue once again at speeds he reports reached 96 miles per hour.

Robinson reports that he was advised that Moorcroft P.D. was waiting at milepost 153. The vehicle took the exit at that point, still at around 75 mph, then allegedly ran the stop sign at the bottom, took a hard right turn and crossed the road into the grass ditch between the on ramp and the Moorcroft Rest Area.

According to Robinson’s report, the car then went through the grass and back onto the road entrance to the rest area, then skidded to a stop by the restrooms. Robinson saw the suspect leave the vehicle at a run across the picnic area, then northwest to the fence at the boundary.

The suspect allegedly jumped the fence and continued on across the Belle Fourche River and into the trees. Robinson advised dispatch and stayed with the vehicle.

According to the sheriff, a search began for the suspect. Travelers on I-90 were also alerted to the suspect’s presence via the overhead signs, which warned of police activity and cautioned people not to pick up hitchhikers.

“We had Highway Patrol respond, Moorcroft Police Department and [Sheriff’s Office] deputies and Campbell County ended up hearing about the pursuit and came over,” Hodge says.

“A Code Red was issued within a five mile radius.”

Residents of a nearby ranch house on the D Road called in to alert them of the suspect’s presence.

Though a Campbell County Sheriff’s Office K-9 was involved in the pursuit once the suspect left his vehicle, it was a motorist traveling down the D Road who saw the Code Red and alerted law enforcement of the suspect’s location.

“They ended up apprehending him going up the D Road on foot,” says Hodge.

“They had the situation under control. They had a perimeter, did the Code Red and it all went well and turned out good. Nobody was hurt.”

The suspect is thought to have fled because he was traveling in a stolen vehicle. According to Robinson, the vehicle had been reported stolen to the Pine Ridge Tribal Police Department in South Dakota earlier in the day; the suspect was found to be 15 years of age and not in possession of a driver’s license.

The minor was arrested in Crook County and transported to Campbell County Juvenile Detention Center, says the sheriff. In Crook County, he will face misdemeanor charges of fleeing or attempting to elude police and interference with a police officer.