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Chamberlain man gets prison time for attempted assault on law enforcement

CHAMBERLAIN—A Chamberlain man was sentenced recently to spend less than a year in prison for attempted aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer during an April incident.

Additional charges of pointing firearms at police, assaulting two civilians and leading police in a high-speed pursuit while intoxicated were filed against 23-year-old Mato Wells involving the same incident but were ultimately dismissed.

According to court documents, at 7:43 p.m. on April 29, the officer whom Wells is accused of threatening responded to a Chamberlain residence where a woman told him that Wells was intoxicated, was "busting up" the house and that he had hit her. Also present was a man who said that Wells had broken windows and had punched him in the mouth.

The officer reportedly pulled his patrol car into the house's driveway, at which point Wells opened the door and pointed a rifle at him, which was eventually discovered to be a pellet gun. The officer called for backup, then got behind his patrol car for protection as Wells came toward him.

Wells allegedly then swung the gun at the patrol car's back window, shattering it. He then obtained a black handgun, which he proceeded to point at the officer.

When a deputy arrived at the scene, Wells reportedly got into a truck and ran into the deputy's truck at a high speed. A pursuit through Chamberlain then ensued, with Wells traveling above posted speed limits and not stopping at stop signs. Eventually, on Highway 50, Wells' truck spun out of control and went into a ditch.

Wells refused to get out of his truck, and an electronic control device was used on him before he was able to be handcuffed. He was then taken to the Brule County Sheriff's Office, where he gave a PBT of 0.218.

The handgun was recovered from Wells' truck, and the pellet gun from the house where the altercation began.

Wells was arrested, taken to jail and charged with three counts of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, aggravated eluding, intentional damage to property of between $2,500 and $5,000, two counts of intentional damage to property of between $400 and $1,000, two counts of domestic abuse simple assault intentionally causing bodily injury, a first-offense DUI, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

He ultimately pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, a Class 3 felony, on Nov. 27, and the state dropped the remaining charges.

Wells was sentenced to 10 years in the state penitentiary with eight years and six months suspended and credit for 212 days served. He was ordered to pay $7,498.89 in restitution and $104 in court costs.