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Moody County Chase Challenges Authorities

March 9, 2012, 5:59 PM by David Brown

Moody County Chase Challenges Authorities
FLANDREAU, SD -

Three people remain hospitalized after crashing their car during a police pursuit in Moody County. A driver called police shortly before 10:30 Thursday night to report a reckless driver on Interstate 29. That driver eluded authorities for more than 20 miles.

After that initial call, Flandreau police stopped a Chevy Blazer matching the description near a gas station on Highway 32. But once the officer approached the vehicle, the driver fled, leading authorities on a chase that had speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

A crushed body is all that remains of a Chevy Blazer after leading authorities on a chase through both the city of Flandreau and rural Moody County late Thursday night.

"They did travel quite a ways," Sgt. Jess Doyle with Flandreau Police said. "The pursuit lasted 12 minutes."

Doyle was in one of the vehicles chasing the suspects. Doyle says alcohol was a factor in the crash, a sad reminder about the dangers of drinking and driving.

"It can happen anywhere," Doyle said. "Just because we're a small town doesn't mean there's no crime here. It happens here. It maybe happens more than people really know."

During the chase, Doyle says the driver traveled 70 miles per hour through Flandreau, ran through three stop signs and reached a maximum speed of 105 miles per hour on rural roads. The chase ended when the vehicle rolled into a ditch near the intersection of 242nd Street and 478th Avenue at the bottom of the Moody County line.

"Right before the accident occurred, I was going to give it maybe one more minute before terminating the pursuit because of the rural area the pursuit was taking place in and the fact that gravel roads aren't as nice to travel on as paved roads," Doyle said.

Doyle says there's a fine line for when to continue a chase and when conditions become too dangerous. But he says protocol was followed.

"We have a policy in place for how each officer responds to the pursuit, all the factors involved including bystanders and traffic on the roadway," Doyle said. "All kinds of things play into this."

The names of the driver and two passengers have yet to be released. Doyle says Flandreau police and the Moody County Sheriff's Office are still investigating, but they hope to have their report to the State's Attorney next week to determine if charges will be filed against the driver.

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