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Half-hour chase reaches speeds of 100 mph

GREGORY -- The South Dakota Highway Patrol used a plane to help coordinate the arrest of a fugitive who allegedly escaped from law enforcement, stole two vehicles and led officers on a 30- to 40-mile, high-speed chase in Gregory County.

GREGORY - The South Dakota Highway Patrol used a plane to help coordinate the arrest of a fugitive who allegedly escaped from law enforcement, stole two vehicles and led officers on a 30- to 40-mile, high-speed chase in Gregory County.

Jamie Ray Benedict, 29, of Spearfish, was arrested Sunday evening following a pursuit in which speeds reached 100 mph and ended at a farmhouse near Herrick, Gregory County Sheriff Tim Drey said Tuesday.

Drey said the South Dakota Highway Patrol's plane helped dispatch officers to the location of Benedict, who was a passenger in a vehicle that became involved in a half-hour pursuit Sunday.

According to the South Dakota Department of Safety's website, the Highway Patrol's aviation section has a variety of missions, but the primary use of the aircraft is to assist troopers on the ground enforce traffic laws.

The pursuit, Drey said, started at about 6:30 p.m. south of Gregory, then went into Gregory city limits and eventually south to Herrick.

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Part-time Gregory County Sheriff's Deputy Hans Walleser made a maneuver with his vehicle that bumped the fleeing vehicle off the road. Drey said the relationship of the driver to Benedict is still being investigated.

The Gregory County Sheriff's Office, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Gregory Police and Burke Fire Department assisted in the incident.

"We're very appreciative for the people who called in," Drey said. "It was a joint effort to bring this person in custody."

Officers were acting on a tip from the public because Benedict was sought by police after he kicked out the window of a Davison County Sheriff's vehicle Thursday while his vehicle was being searched by officers. Benedict was handcuffed during the time of the alleged escape.

At the time of his initial arrest, 44 grams of methamphetamine, less than 2 ounces of marijuana, a digital scale and various items of drug paraphernalia were found in Benedict's vehicle, according to police.

After successfully escaping, Benedict is believed to have stolen a 2004 GMC Sierra in Mitchell. That vehicle was involved in a pursuit with law enforcement in Parkston, but was not recovered until it was found Friday morning in Armour.

Benedict also allegedly stole a second vehicle in Armour, a tan 2005 Ford F350, which was later recovered in Lake Andes.

Following Sunday evening's pursuit, Benedict was arrested and, according to police, found to be in possession of methamphetamine. Drey said Benedict has been turned over to the Davison County Sheriff's Office.

Related Topics: CRIME
Luke Hagen was promoted to editor of the Mitchell Republic in 2014. He has worked for the newspaper since 2008 and has covered sports, outdoors, education, features and breaking news. He can be reached at lhagen@mitchellrepublic.com.
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