KENNEBEC — Following what officials called a "potential hazard" Tuesday morning in Kennebec, law enforcement has deemed the community safe.
Lyman County Sheriff Steve Manger confirmed an investigation is underway but he said he cannot release specifics about the situation that closed Lyman School District early Tuesday morning. Multiple state and local agencies declined comment Tuesday as investigation into the matter continued.
The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation acknowledged there "was a law enforcement pursuit and an accident overnight" and the Lyman County Sheriff's Office was involved. DCI Spokesman Tim Bormann said the South Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and DCI is working on the criminal angle.
"At this time, the investigation is continuing," Bormann said. "The public is not in danger. We will be passing on more as we piece things together."
Superintendent Rob Davis earlier Tuesday said the sheriff's office notified the Lyman School District of a threat at about 6 a.m.
"The district's first priority is student safety so we decided to call school off," he said. "There will be school Wednesday."
A town of 240 people, Kennebec is in central South Dakota, about 55 miles southeast of Pierre and about 100 miles west of Mitchell.
Marie Kulm, a front desk associate at a Kennebec hotel, said she heard reports that multiple vehicles were stolen by multiple people.
“I heard the people who stole the vehicles from houses in town were inmates who escaped prison or jail,” Kulm said, speaking on speculation and hearsay. “I also heard that one of the vehicles that was stolen crashed and some of the drivers who stole it died.”
Kulm said there were helicopters and aircrafts hovering over the town of Kennebec in the early morning hours on Tuesday, searching for the suspects.
“My husband told me to keep the doors locked and the kids safe this morning after he heard of what was going on,” Kulm said Tuesday
Mary Kreager, Kennebec resident, lives just a few blocks west of the Lyman School District and learned there was a school lockdown while she was at the local grocery store.
“It’s just sad that stuff like this happens in Kennebec,” Kreager said Tuesday morning.
At around noon Tuesday, South Dakota Highway Patrol officers were directing traffic roughly 2 miles north of Kennebec along Highway 273, where there was a white pickup truck tipped over in a cornfield. The state troopers controlled the area, as a tow-truck safely removed the severely damaged vehicle from the field.