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Deputies search for gun after high-speed chase west of Morris

Divers with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team search for a gun Friday in Stevens County. Authorities believe a suspect may have thrown the gun from his vehicle Wednesday during a high-speed chase west of Morris. (Kim Ukura/Morris Sun Tribune)

By Kim Ukura

Forum News Service

MORRIS — An Appleton man faces several criminal charges after a high-speed chase Wednesday west of Morris.

On Friday, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team came to Stevens County to search for a gun in two area sloughs where law enforcement officials believe the suspect, 35-year-old Joshua Proudfoot, may have tossed it from his vehicle.

Proudfoot made his first appearance Friday in Stevens County District Court. He faces one count of fleeing a peace officer, two counts of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, and two counts of possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

According to the complaint, officers with the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office and Morris Police Department received information that Proudfoot had been selling drugs in Morris. Officers searching for Proudfoot observed him driving and reported that he was crossing lanes of traffic and weaving in his own lane.

Officers caught up with Proudfoot about five miles west of Morris. Proudfoot drove south toward state Highway 28, where a Stevens County sheriff’s deputy had blocked the road.

According to the complaint, Proudfoot drove into the ditch until he could get onto Highway 28 again, with four law enforcement vehicles in pursuit. Proudfoot continued to drive erratically, going shoulder to shoulder along the highway while throwing baggies out of his windows.

Eventually, Proudfoot drove back into a ditch and hit a driveway approach, causing the car to jump about 15 feet in the air before hitting the ground. When the vehicle landed, Proudfoot crawled out of the driver’s side window and fled on foot through a field, the complaint said.

Officers continued to pursue him in their vehicles. When he came to a slough, Proudfoot was taken into custody, the complaint says.

Proudfoot suffered a minor injury and was treated before he was transferred to the Douglas County Jail.

Stevens County officials closed a 2.5-mile stretch of Highway 28 for about 90 minutes that evening to recover evidence that Proudfoot was believed to have thrown out of his window.

According to the complaint, officers recovered 14 bags containing methamphetamine in ditches along the road. A search of the vehicle Proudfoot was driving also uncovered other containers of pills, marijuana, hydromorphone and other prescription pills. Officers also found a .38-caliber bullet in the car, the complaint states.

Sheriff Jason Dingman said the bullet, along with Proudfoot’s actions during the pursuit, led them to believe he may have disposed of a gun in a slough or ditch along the chase path.

As of Friday afternoon, no gun had been recovered.

The Morris Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also were involved in the pursuit.

Forum News Service

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