Saturday chase ends in serious crash

By Sarah Pridgeon

A high-speed chase near the state line ended with a rolled vehicle and serious injuries to a motorcyclist over the weekend. Christopher Nesius of Wheatland attempted to elude police after being spotted speeding at Keyhole State Park.

The vehicle was spotted speeding at 63 mph in a 30 mph zone on July 8 at around 7:15 p.m. and a Keyhole State Parks officer initiated pursuit. The vehicle turned onto I-90 and headed east at over 100 mph, where Sheriff’s Office deputies and Highway Patrol continued to pursue the vehicle.

Highway Patrol attempted twice to stop the vehicle using spikes but both attempts were unsuccessful. A trooper pulled up alongside Nesius’s truck and made eye contact to signal that he should pull over; however, according to court reports, Nesius “threw both hands up in the air and then placed his left hand covering the left side of his face” to ignore him.

The vehicle then overtook a white truck east of Sundance, switched lanes and rear-ended a motorcyclist, catching the bike’s rear tire. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the motorcyclist flew into the air and landed on the vehicle, which then headed towards the ditch.

According to court reports, the Highway Patrol trooper approached the scene at milepost 202.5 and could see “a large cloud of dust”. Running through the cloud, he observed two Crook County deputies with the motorcycle driver, who was flat on his back and appeared to be injured.

The motorcyclist had rolled off the vehicle and into the dirt on a downhill slope. The truck meanwhile hit the ditch, went airborne and rolled, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The trooper made contact with Nesius, who he described as disoriented and unsure what was going on but apparently not seriously injured. Searching for identification in the truck, the trooper allegedly opened the overhead compartment and a glass pipe consistent with methamphetamine use fell onto the center console.

Also inside the vehicle, according to court reports, were empty prescription bottles including for oxycodone. The trooper allegedly observed that Nesius’s pupils were “extremely dilated” and that he was making inconsistent statements while his behavior “changed several times from being angry and aggressive to crying and apologetic when he was informed he hit a motorcyclist, and finally to appearing to act unconscious”.

The motorcyclist was transported to Spearfish Hospital via Life Flight, where he was treated for serious injuries. Nesius resisted arrest, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and was taken to hospital before being cleared for release with minor injuries.

An inspection of Nesius’s driver’s record revealed that his license was suspended and he had been found guilty of prior charges of driving under suspension. He was also found to have a prior conviction for driving under the influence and causing severe bodily injury from 2011 in Colorado.

Nesius has been charged with one felony count of aggravated assault and battery, carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years’ jail time, a $10,000 fine or both, and one felony count of driving under the influence and causing serious bodily injury, second offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years of incarceration,a  $10,000 fine or both.

He has also been charged with misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, interference with a peace officer, fleeing or attempting to elude police and driving while his license was suspended, second offense.