Officers from the North Platte Police Department were involved in a high speed pursuit through the city on Wednesday, leading to the arrest of three North Platte residents.
On December 25 at approximately 2:32AM, officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 1800 block of West 3rd. It was reported to the responding officer that the victim’s 2006 Hyundai Tiburon had been warming up outside, when they noticed it leaving their driveway. Minutes later, a patrol officer spotted a vehicle matching this description in the area of North Platte High School. As the officer turned around to verify the identity of the vehicle, the driver began to speed up and drive recklessly on the snow and ice covered roads. Due to the dangerous conditions, the officer made the decision not to pursue the vehicle. An officer was able to follow at a distance, and soon located the vehicle, unoccupied, in the Red Cedars Trailer Court at 2nd and Bare.
On Wednesday, at 6:30AM, officers responded to the 900 block of East 3rd on a report of another stolen vehicle, a Lexus GS500. As with the first victim, the complainant reported that their car had been warming up on the street, unlocked, and was stolen. Patrol officers began actively searching for the vehicle, and at 1:37PM, an officer saw the vehicle driving near the 1200 block of Burlington. After a failed attempt to stop the vehicle, a pursuit ensued. The pursuit was terminated near 5th and Poplar due to the driver’s erratic driving, high speeds and dangerous road conditions. A short time later, the vehicle was again spotted by a patrol officer, this time near 4th and Sycamore traveling westbound at approximately 40 mph. Again, patrol units did not actively pursue the vehicle due to the dangerous conditions. An officer witnessed the vehicle lose control at 4th and Garfield, causing damage to a stop sign on the southeast corner of the intersection. Officers last observed the vehicle near 2nd and Custer.
Officers then responded to Red Cedars trailer court, since the previously stolen vehicle had been located there. The Lexus was found at this location running and unoccupied. Officers were able to follow footprints in the snow to a trailer, where they made contact with Jesse Belland. The investigation revealed that Belland was driving the Lexus as officers were in pursuit. It was also determined that Belland had a role in the theft of both vehicles. The investigation also led to the arrest of Katelyn McWain and Chance Ragle. McWain was charged with one count of theft by taking for her role in the case involving the Hyundai. Belland was charged with two counts of theft by taking for his involvement in both incidents. Ragle was also charged with two counts of theft by taking for his role. Additionally, Belland was charged with flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, driving under suspension and criminal mischief. All three were arrested and booked into the Lincoln County Detention Center.