February 07, 2019

Police utilize less-lethal methods to safely bring pursuit suspect into custody

A pursuit which covered a large area of Rapid City’s north side was brought to a safe conclusion, thanks to the quick thinking on the part of multiple officers, along with the use of the less-lethal tools at their disposal.

The incident started on February 6th at around 7:45 p.m. when police attempted a traffic stop on a Ford Explorer as it exited the parking lot at 1565 Haines Avenue. The vehicle turned back into the parking lot it had just left. As police approached the vehicle, the driver put the Explorer into reverse, backed out, and turned north onto Haines Avenue.

Speeds stayed relatively slow during the ensuing pursuit. In the course of the chase, the suspect vehicle struck a light pole near 1201 Atlas Street, and collided with a vehicle parked in the parking lot of 115 E. North Street.

At the conclusion of the pursuit, the suspect driver pulled into the driveway at 216 E. Monroe Street. While it was in the driveway, the suspect driver attempted to strike two officers with the vehicle. Based on the driver’s numerous attempts to evade police and his dangerous driving behavior, the decision was made to shoot out the vehicle’s tires to keep the driver from fleeing. Even with the tires deflated, the suspect driver still continued his attempts to drive away from police. At this point, the less lethal beanbag shotgun was deployed. Pepper spray was also used on the driver. These attempts still didn’t stop him from attempting to drive away, and the driver was Tasered through the window. At this point, the driver was safely taken into custody and identified as 23-year-old Casey Whiteeagle of Rapid City. A search of the vehicle turned up methamphetamine.

Whiteeagle was placed under arrest for two counts of Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Aggravated Eluding, Obstruction, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident. He was ultimately transported to the Pennington County Jail.

“It was evidently clear that this suspect was going to do whatever he could to evade police capture, including putting officers’ lives at risk,” says Captain James Johns, Commander of the RCPD’s Patrol Division. “I’m extremely thankful that the decisive actions of our officers brought this pursuit to an end without any officers or members of the community getting hurt as a result of the suspect’s dangerous decisions."

* The charges are merely accusations and the arrested individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Any additional details regarding this case can be obtained from the Pennington County State’s Attorney and/or court records as appropriate.

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