NEW: WALTNER INVOLVED IN TURNER COUNTY PURSUIT
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
Maurice Waltner, a deputy with the Hutchinson County Sheriff’s Office, has been involved in the pursuit of suspects before, but never has he been the target of a direct attack.
Not until last week, anyway.
Waltner was an active part of the search and attempted apprehension of suspects who have since been either taken into custody or are cooperating with law enforcement for a series of alleged crimes spanning multiple counties across the region in recent weeks.
Waltner was joined by a deputy from Turner County in search of a suspect who allegedly stole a vehicle and was believed to be at a farm in Turner County Thursday, Sept. 3. Waltner said both deputies entered the property and found the suspect sitting in a running pickup.
“I approached the vehicle and he swerved at me and tried to run me over,” said Waltner, who noted that the suspect then collided with the Turner County deputy’s vehicle and fled the scene. Both deputies then engaged in pursuit, during which time the suspect collided with the Hutchinson County vehicle driven by Waltner. The pursuit continued until the suspect got stuck and fled on foot.
According to the Turner County Sheriff Office Facebook page following the Sept. 3 incident, “a thorough search was conducted with the assistance of several agencies and (a) drone. The drone batteries died and we were unable to find the driver in the thick bean and corn fields.
“This morning we were dispatched to an address south of Marion for an individual on someone’s property matching the same description,” the post read. “The owners approached the subject, but due to the subject’s actions, they feared for their safety, so they retreated. During the time, the subject drove a side by side through the middle of the fields and escaped prior to our arrival, not known to us at the time. We conducted another thorough search with HP Plane and the Lincoln County drone. At that time, we did not find the subject. We then searched a few other areas, but have been unable to locate him.”
That was Friday, Sept. 4. The following day, the suspect, Tyson Wessels, was located at Tea and taken into custody.
Waltner said on Sunday that charges were yet to be filed, but would likely come from multiple counties and will likely included aggravated assault on an officer — a serious charge that could have serious consequences. The other suspects believed to be involved in the series of crimes are cooperating with law enforcement, Waltner said.
Charges from Hutchinson County are pending, with the DCI expected to be involved.
Wessels is currently in custody at the Minnehaha County Jail.
Waltner said the attempted assalt by the suspect last Thursday is what prompted him and the Turner County Deputy to amp up their pursuit to the next level.
“Once he has total disregard for anybody’s safety, you have to do what you have to do,” said Waltner, who has been with the Hutchinson County Sheriff’s Office the past four years and worked with Freeman Police the previous 10.