Police search for armed suspectDANTE — A man considered armed and dangerous is still on the loose after an intense police pursuit and search Wednesday that resulted in the arrest of two others.
By: Austin Kaus The Daily Republic, Worthington Daily Globe
DANTE — A man considered armed and dangerous is still on the loose after an intense police pursuit and search Wednesday that resulted in the arrest of two others.
As the search for the man continued into early Wednesday evening, it capped a busy day for law enforcement that began with a complaint of a reckless driver on Interstate 90, saw several agencies involved in a regionwide search, forced lockdowns of businesses and prompted worry among school officials and residents along the route.
The driver of a vehicle containing two other men was initially reported to be driving erratically and consuming alcohol on the interstate, said Jim Chaney, chief deputy of the Charles Mix County Sheriff’s Department.
After traveling south on Highway 45, Chaney said the men attempted to run a Platte police officer off of the road when he tried to stop the vehicle within the Platte city limits.
The vehicle had a flat tire shortly after and Cody Cuffe, 20, was arrested in Platte as he tried to change the tire. Chaney said Cuffe reported that both remaining men had pistols.
Chaney said alcohol, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a syringe were discovered in the vehicle. He believes the syringe was used to inject methamphetamine.
Jackson Sully, 19, of rural Wagner, and an unidentified American Indian male fled the scene and stole a vehicle from Midwest Ag in Platte. Police used the vehicle’s factory-installed Onstar navigation system to track the pair to the small town of Dante, where Sully was apprehended as he hid in a shed. Dante is located between Wagner and Avon.
As the search for the remaining fugitive intensified, Dante filled with officers from Chamberlain, Mitchell, Yankton, Wagner, Douglas County, Charles Mix County, the Highway Patrol and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A Highway Patrol plane flew overhead.
Chaney said the fugitive could be a “parole absconder” who has history of evading authorities.
“He does have a history, if it’s the right guy we’re thinking of,” Chaney said. “This guy has evaded us before.”
The active search was called off around 6 p.m., but Chaney said officers would continue to patrol the area.
Both Sully and Cuffe will be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, Chaney said. Sully also will be charged with possession of stolen property, grand theft, felony eluding, resisting arrest and obstructing justice. Chaney said additional charges are pending.
The incident occurred just a day after a bomb threat at Wal-Mart and bank robbery at CorTrust Bank occurred in Mitchell. Mitchell police said Wednesday they do not know if Tuesday’s bank robbery and Wednesday’s incidents are connected.
As the men headed through Platte, employee Lori Troll said police ordered the Pizza Ranch to be placed on lockdown at approximately 1 p.m.
“They called us and told us there were guys on the loose, they had handguns and we were to go to immediate lockdown,” she said. “This is very unusual for us.”
Troll said she saw police vehicles speeding east out of town. One of her customers reported a near-accident with the suspects’ vehicle.
“When she pulled into Platte, she almost got sideswiped,” Troll said.
The Wagner School District took a cautious approach to its daily release of children, according to Superintendent Susan Smit. Buses from the district deliver students to the Dante area, but Smit said “we did take kids on the buses going to Dante. Their parents picked them up or they went home with family members in the area.
“We just wanted to make sure we did everything to help kids be safe,” Smit said.
At 4 p.m., the perimeter of Dante was guarded by police. Highway Patrol vehicles darted throughout the town of fewer than 100 residents, while the stolen vehicle sat parked in an alley off Main Street. A dead bird stuck in the grill remained as a sign of the high-speed pursuit.
Mike Wren of Dante said he and his mother were walking when they saw the stolen vehicle being chased by a black unmarked vehicle with police lights in the grill. Shortly after, he “saw the police officers with guns.”
“I was walking my dog and, all of a sudden, there were people all over the place,” Wren said.