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SUV on truck headed for Fargo dealership ends up in Lake Superior

A Douglas County (Wis.) Sheriff's Office vessel approaches a black SUV found in the water in Superior on Friday. A passerby had reported the vehicle which was half-submerged in the Lake Superior bay. Brady Slater / Forum News Service

DULUTH, Minn.—A Kentucky man has been arrested in connection to the SUV found partially submerged in Lake Superior in the Duluth-Superior area on Friday.

A 38-year-old man from Louisville, Ky., is being held in the Racine County (Wis.) Jail on pending charges in Douglas County after the 2017 GMC Yukon he was supposed to be transporting to a Fargo dealership was found submerged in the water in Superior.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office:

After an angler reported the Yukon in the water at 8:24 a.m. Friday, the Superior Fire Department arrived to find the Yukon empty, but with damage to its top rear and tailgate. A large concrete boulder was found against the Yukon's accelerator pedal.

Deputies found a bill of lading in the vehicle that indicated the Yukon was to be transported from Manheim Detroit Auto Auction in Carleton, Mich., to Luther Family Buick GMC in Fargo by Zanev Inc. of Louisville, Ky.

Zanev's owner told deputies about the two transport drivers and indicated that the driver reported to him that the Yukon and other vehicles were dropped off at Manheim Northstar in Shakopee, Minn., according to the Sheriff's Office. Zanev's owner provided pictures of the vehicles that the driver had sent to him, showing a Blue Volvo tractor trailer and car trailer loaded with several vehicles, including the Yukon, according to the Sheriff's Office. However, Manheim Northstar told deputies that it didn't receive the Yukon.

Surveillance video from Superior shows the Yukon stopped on Main Street at 7:56 a.m. near the pier where it was discovered. The blue Volvo tractor-trailer was then seen on video driving by the same location without a load at 8 a.m. and 8:11 a.m..

The Kentucky man told deputies that he dropped off all of the vehicles, including the Yukon, in Shakopee between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. Friday and then left for Caledonia, Wis. He denied being in Superior. When he was confronted with the surveillance video, the driver remembered that they went to Duluth to pick up a truck and got lost on a dead end road. He said it was a coincidence that it was the same road where the Yukon they were hauling was recovered, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Zanev's other driver was sent pictures of the damaged Yukon by his boss. He then called deputies to say that he wanted no part in it and that he would tell them what really happened. He said the Kentucky man was driving somewhere in Michigan when he hit a bridge or something similar to a bridge, but didn't report it. When they arrived in Shakopee, the man told him that they needed to bring the Yukon to a different auction in Duluth. The Kentucky man said he would drop off the Yukon and instructed the other driver to pick him up. When he picked up the Kentucky man, he was on foot without the Yukon.

When Wisconsin State Patrol arrived at Manheim Milwaukee in Caledonia, Wis., to gather further information, the Kentucky man fled on foot and was arrested after a short chase while wearing the same colored T-shirt as the Yukon's driver in the surveillance video.