A former Bowman resident appeared in court Monday afternoon following his arrest last week for leading local law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit from Bowman to Amidon along Highway 85.
By BRYCE MARTIN | ND Group Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rory James Mitchell, 45, of Mandan faces a slew of criminal charges from both Bowman and Slope Counties following his arrest Jan. 8, including eluding officers, reckless endangerment, theft of service, criminal mischief and felonious restraint.
Mitchell appeared before Judge Rhonda Ehlis in Southwest Judicial District Court in Dickinson on Monday for an initial hearing. Mitchell had been lodged at the Southwest Multi-County Correctional Facility in Dickinson since his arrest.
Bowman Police Chief Chuck Headley responded to a call the morning of Jan. 8 from the Bowman Lodge in Bowman, a representative from which stated that Mitchell was unable to pay for his previous night’s stay.
According to Headley, the man was alone in the lobby.
At the scene, Headley informed Mitchell that he would need to find a means of payment for his room. He was told to remain in the lodge’s lobby as Headley discussed the matter with management. Mitchell was also said to have damaged the room by smoking inside it.
Headley said Mitchell likely wouldn’t have been arrested at that point.
Mitchell then fled the scene driving a white 2013 Chrysler 200 that had Bismarck dealer plates.
A low-speed pursuit then ensued, with Headley following Mitchell’s vehicle as he crossed the highway and drove north onto Main Street in Bowman. Mitchell failed to pull over for Headley, who had engaged his vehicle’s lights and sirens.
As he drove on Main Street, Mitchell obeyed all stop signs and did not exceed the posted speed limit until he pulled north onto Highway 85 from First Street Northwest.
Mitchell then rapidly accelerated, reaching speeds up to 100 mph upon leaving Bowman city limits. Headley radioed for assistance from the Bowman County Sheriff’s Department.
The pursuit continued northbound on Highway 85, reaching speeds of 120 mph. Surrounding law enforcement agencies, including the Slope County Sheriff’s Department, were notified of the oncoming pursuit.
Headley said Mitchell’s vehicle got dangerously close to an oncoming semi truck, which was forced onto the shoulder of the highway.
A Slope County Sheriff’s Deputy set up tire deflation devices to halt the Chrysler about one mile west of Amidon. Mitchell’s front tires were deflated as they crossed the devices, and came to a stop about one mile east of Amidon on the highway.
According to police reports, Mitchell complied with the officers to exit the vehicle without incident. He was arrested and transported to Dickinson for booking.
Upon investigation of Mitchell’s vehicle, a Bowman adult female was found in the passenger seat, crying. She told police that she was promised a ride by Mitchell to her home in Bowman and waited inside the white Chrysler as Mitchell checked out of the Bowman Lodge.
“When we had Mr. Mitchell (in custody), she kind of popped up,” Headley said, adding that he had noticed somebody occupying the passenger seat during the pursuit.
The woman told officers she had only met Mitchell the previous night.
She indicated to police that she did not know why Mitchell was being pursued; she had pleaded with him to stop the vehicle, according to the report.
According to the woman, Mitchell did not explain why he would not stop for police.
It was later discovered by police that Mitchell was not authorized to take the white Chrysler from the Bismarck dealership prior to the incident.
Headley told the Pioneer that the dealer would likely pursue Mitchell civilly for the damage he caused to the vehicle’s tires.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in a high-speed chase,” Headley said, adding that he had experienced others throughout his career. “One is enough.”
Mitchell was charged Monday with felonious restraint, a Class C felony, in which a person knowingly abducts another or exposes them to risk of serious bodily injury per North Dakota Century Code; attempting to elude a police officer, a Class A misdemeanor; criminal mischief and theft of services, both a Class B misdemeanor. Those charges were incurred in Bowman County.
Mitchell also faces charges from Slope County for reckless endangerment, a Class C felony, and reckless driving, a Class B misdemeanor.
A Class C felony is punishable by a maximum of five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or both. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of one-year imprisonment, a fine of $3,000, or both and a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by 30 days imprisonment, a fine of $1,500 or both.