Teens engage in high-speed pursuit with GF&P officers
Two young men engaged in a high-speed chase with Game, Fish and Parks officers Friday evening after they were caught breaking night hunting regulations.
An 18-year-old Mellette man and his juvenile passenger were caught violating the state's spotlighting artificial light night vision law by GF&P officers conducting night surveillance, Regional Conservation Officer Supervisor Mike Klosowski said.
This law bars individuals from using spotlights to kill varmints, big game or commit vandalism, Klosowski said. GF&P officers were patrolling both on the ground and from an airplane.
The suspects were observed spotlighting around 10:45 p.m., Klosowski said. When an officer attempted to stop their vehicle, the pair engaged in a chase along the east-side of Mellette. The pursuit lasted 16 miles and speeds "approached the 100 mph limit," Klosowski said.
"Each pursuit is evaluated on a case-by-case basis," Klosowski said. "There was no method to identify them until we actually came upon the vehicle, and our primary officer who was pursing the vehicle was at times half a mile to three-quarters of the mile behind so there was room for maneuverability."
The driver eventually turned the vehicle into Mellette and attempted to hide in an alleyway, but the GF&P aircraft was able to direct officers on the ground to where the suspects were hiding.
The 18-year-old was cited for spotlighting artificial light night vision, eluding and reckless driving. The juvenile was cited for spotlighting artificial light night vision and charges are pending for eluding as well.