What started Thursday morning with a report of an attempted theft and included multiple vehicle pursuits, ended with three people in custody and more arrests anticipated in north Iowa.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Office says it received a 911 call at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday about an attempt to steal a trailer in Elma. The caller and several other vehicles followed three suspect pickups, two Chevys and one Dodge, east of Elma on gravel roads at high rates of speed.
Law enforcement joined the pursuit with Sheriff Tim Beckman stopping the Dodge truck on 200th Street near York Avenue, by striking it with his squad car. The pickup was reported stolen out of Minnesota leading to the arrest of 42-year-old Jesse Devlaeminck of Rochester for first-degree theft, reckless driving, and several traffic violations.
Shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday, the Howard County Sheriff’s Office received a call that one of the Chevy pickups was at the AV Express in Alta Vista, but the pickup took off before authorities could arrive. Sheriff Beckman located both Chevy trucks just after 2 pm on Lincoln Avenue, north of B17, and a high-speed chase began on 175th Street to Robin Avenue, where one truck went south and the other north.
Sheriff Beckman pursued the southbound pickup, which drove into a harvested bean field near the Chickasaw County line. Sheriff Beckman followed as the pickup left the field south on Randolf Avenue, where he says he lost sight of the pickup. However, a short time later, he discovered tracks leading to knocked down corn at the intersection of Randolf Avenue and 110th Street in Chickasaw County. The fugitive Chevy pickup was located, but the driver was gone.
During a large-scale search of the area, the Cresco Fire Department says its drone located the driver hiding in the field just before 4 p.m. Investigators say the Chevy was reported stolen out of Mitchell County and held items reported stolen earlier in the day from Elma, resulting in the arrests of the driver, 36-year-old Nathaniel Thompson of Mankato, Minnesota, and a passenger, 38-year-old Eleana McDonough of Wilmar, Minnesota. Thompson was also charged with felony eluding, first-degree theft, third-degree burglary. McDonough is facing first-degree theft and third-degree burglary charges.
Assisting with the pursuits, apprehensions and investigation were the Chickasaw, Mitchell and Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Offices, Cresco Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement, Iowa DNR law enforcement, and Howard County Emergency Management.
An investigation is still ongoing and the Howard County Sheriff’s Office says more charges are expected along with more defendants.