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RCPD Pursuit Ends In Crash And Arrest

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The Rapid City Police Department attempted to pull over a vehicle for a license plate violation this weekend. The incident turned into a pursuit, ending with a car crash and arrest. 

Brendyn Medina is the Community Relations Specialist for the Rapid City Police Department. He says Robert Whiteplune was driving on the north side of Rapid City around 2 a.m.. An officer attempted to pull him over for driving without a properly illuminated license plate. 

Whiteplune did not pull over, so Medina says the department pursued the vehicle around the north side of the city. The vehicle started heading for the downtown area and the pursuit was terminated.

“Based on the reason for stop which was a license plate violation and taking this pursuit into an area that’s more dangerous for pursuits.”

Medina says an officer responding to the chase had set his car up in the downtown area before the pursuit was called off. That officer reported seeing the suspect approaching at a high rate of speed. 

“Something caused the driver to swerve to the left, lose control, ended up hitting a curb, launching into the air and then came to rest in the parking lot of 500 East Boulevard. And so the suspect driver was seen attempting to flee the now disabled vehicle. And so there was a short foot pursuit.” 

Although it was originally a traffic stop for the license plate violation, officers found out he had an existing warrant. He was arrested for that along with aggravated eluding and obstruction. 

Medina says the main take away from the incident is how much effort and consideration goes into vehicle pursuits. 

“It’s not uncommon for us to disengage from a pursuit when it exceeds a certain threshold of safety. Because the last thing we want is to engage in a pursuit and have collateral damage or other uninvolved motorists be put at risk for their own safety as a result of pursuing this vehicle.” 

Medina says the driver refused a medical evaluation.