YORK – Arraignment proceedings for Jesse D. Wells, 22, of Friend were held this week in York County District Court in a case involving possession of a firearm while committing a felony, operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving and driving under the influence.
He pleaded not guilty to all five counts against him – three of the counts are felonies.
According to the affidavit filed with the county court, deputies with the York County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the area of County Road P and County Road 10 in York County, at 11:22 p.m., on the report of a man sleeping in the driver’s seat of a vehicle.
The deputies said they tried to wake the driver and when they did, “he put his vehicle in drive and began to flee,” according to court documents. The deputy advised he believed the driver could be intoxicated due to numerous open alcohol containers in the bed of the truck and the fact that the driver and sole occupant was unconscious.
The deputies, according to court documents, said the man had an AR-15 rifle inside the vehicle and the driver began driving in a field before entering the roadway. It is alleged that the driver – Wells – drove into and out of ditches along county roads and a pursuit began. The deputies reported erratic driving by Wells and speeds in excess of 70 mph.
The deputy requested assistance from the York Police Department and the Nebraska State Patrol. “Just before deputies entered the city limits of York, they requested an officer from the police department utilize stop sticks to try and stop the vehicle. Stop sticks were not utilized as deputies were advised to terminate their pursuit.”
Meanwhile, an officer with the York Police Department had been listening to the radio traffic and was aware of what had been happening regarding the deputies with the sheriff’s department.
The police officer was in a cruiser at the intersection of E. Nobes Road and S. Delaware Avenue when he saw the fleeing vehicle pass by in excess of 50 mph in the 35 mph zone. He also noted that the vehicle’s passenger side headlight was out. He pulled out behind the vehicle in order to conduct a traffic stop and the vehicle sped up and continued westbound on E. Nobes Road at a high rate of speed, swerving all over the roadway, according to court documents.
A second pursuit began.
The police officer said when they approached S. Lincoln Ave., the traffic light was red. The fleeing vehicle, the officer said, swerved around a stopped vehicle and went through the red light. He said the fleeing vehicle continued westbound on W. Nobes Road and the officer followed at a safe distance. He said the fleeing vehicle was going 70 mph.
The police officer said the fleeing vehicle swerved around an uninvolved vehicle.
“At this time, the fleeing vehicle was swerving side to side in the roadway, almost going up the left-hand curb in the opposite land of travel. The driver continued westbound onto a gravel private driveway at 1411 W. Nobes Road. The driveway had a raised section at the entrance. The fleeing vehicle’s rear end hit the raised section and the driver began to lose control. The fleeing vehicle went into the left-hand ditch and swerved in to the right-hand ditch. The vehicle continued in the right-hand ditch before the driver lost control. The vehicle then turned onto the driver’s side before spinning 180 degrees. The vehicle then reversed and collided with a tree and was stuck.”
At that time, the pursuing officer, the two sheriff’s deputies, a state patrol trooper and two police officers were on the scene.
The pursuing officer “gave the driver clear and concise commands to show their hands and to exit the vehicle. The driver could not exit through the driver’s door due to damage and debris in the area,” the officer’s affidavit says. “I instructed the driver to exit the vehicle through the passenger side and keep their hands visible. The driver complied with these commands. Once the driver exited, I instructed him to walk into the driveway, with his hands up and face away from me. The driver complied with these commands.”
Handcuffs were placed on Wells and the police officer said Wells had watery bloodshot eyes and his speech was slurred. It was also noted that they detected the odor of alcohol on his person.
A field test was administered and it was determined that Wells was likely intoxicated.
Court documents indicate that investigators found, inside the vehicle, two firearms – an American Tactical multi-caliber AR-15 and a Ruger 10/22 tactical rifle. They said they also located an open plastic jug of alcoholic beverage.
A jury trial has been scheduled for late April.