Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes
Assistant Editor 

Motorcycle chase results in a whopping 22 charges

 

Lara Love

Members of Hot Springs County Sheriff's Office, Thermopolis Police Department and Wyoming Highway Patrol assist with putting Jerome Dunks into the patrol vehicle after Dunks was apprehended outside of Shorty's Liquor.

On Thursday, June 30, law enforcement agencies worked together to end a pursuit involving high speeds on a stolen motorcycle.

According to an affidavit, Trooper Hoffman of the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) was at mile marker 5 on Highway 120 and observed a motorcycle with a male driver and a female passenger eastbound, going 95 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone. Hoffman attempted to get the bike to stop, to no effect.

As the trooper approached the Thermopolis city limits, he noted the motorcycle was doing 63 mph in a 30 mph zone. Hoffman further observed the motorcycle go through a red light, and confirmed the driver was attempting to elude him. He called for assistance from local law enforcement, believing the bike was headed for Hot Springs State Park.

Trooper Kress of the WHP, in her marked patrol vehicle, headed into the park, and was notified by male subjects that they saw the motorcycle. Kress proceeded to the area where the bike was last seen, and encountered it heading her direction. As it approached, she rolled down her window and motioned for the driver to stop. Instead, the motorcycle passed her vehicle and proceeded into the park.

Officer Pahl of the Thermopolis Police Department, also on duty in a patrol vehicle, proceeded to the Buffalo Pasture. Pahl was notified by Kress the motorcycle was headed for the park entrance near Star Plunge. Pahl waited on the side of the road, with the overhead emergency lights of the patrol vehicle activated. The motorcycle approached at a high rate of speed, made contact with the patrol vehicle's front bumper and hood, and continued traveling away from Pahl.

The motorcycle proceeded out of the state park, zipping past Thermopolis High School. For a time, according to scanner traffic, the pursuit was called off. Then, dispatch advised a call had come in from Thermopolis Liquors that subjects matching the description of those on the motorcycle were there.

Deputy Milek of the Hot Spring County Sheriff's Office and Officer Pahl made contact with the reporting party, and learned the male subject fled on foot, while the female was hiding in a back room. Pahl later found the subject, who identified herself as Samantha Messick.

During an interview, Messick said she did not know the driver of the motorcycle, but he identified himself to her as "Bud," and had picked her up hitchhiking from Cody. Messick was adamant she was at Thermopolis Liquors by herself, she did not know where the driver was and he had dropped her off behind Pizza Hut. The caller who reported seeing the two at Thermopolis Liquors stated seeing them enter the business together and stay together.

Messick further noted she told the driver "Go!" when she saw the trooper turn around, and again after the bike hit Pahl's patrol vehicle, though she said "Bud" attempted to stop after the accident.

Dispatched later advised a call had come in from Shorty's Liquor, and it was reported the male subject was there. Officers responded to the business and met with Jerome Dunks, identified as the motorcycle driver.

While Milek escorted Dunks to a patrol vehicle, he became resistant and started to fight, and was restrained against the side of the vehicle. The struggle didn't end there, however, as Dunks continued to fight when being escorted to the Joint Law Enforcement Center. According to the affidavit, he resisted officers, kicked at elevator controls and was otherwise belligerent.

Dispatch also received a call from Merlin's Hideout, in regard to an abandoned motorcycle. An employee there said a male and a female subject had entered, and asked to use the restroom to tend to the woman's injuries. The motorcycle was found, as well as a backpack matching the description of one worn by Messick. A phone in the backpack had an Instagram post with the name Jerome Dunks. After investigation, it was discovered the bike was stolen from Alex Shin of Billings, Mont., and is valued at $4,100.

In the end, Messick was charged with conspiracy to wrongful receiving, concealing or disposing of property, interference with a peace officer and second-offense possession of a controlled substance - methamphetamine.

Lara Love

Dunks abandoned the stolen motorcycle in the alley of the 700 block between Richards and Amoretti.

Though initially charged with wrongful receiving, concealing or disposing of property $1,000 or more, two counts of fleeing or attempting to elude police officer, and interference with an officer, Dunks's charges now total nearly 20 and include a third count of fleeing or attempting to elude police officer, one way traffic signal violation, two counts of failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to provide information, failure to stop a vehicle where an accident involves damage to attended vehicle, failure to stop vehicle where accident involves personal injury, driving motorcycle without proper class, reckless driving, passing in a no passing zone, driving while license suspended, drive through red light, exceeding 30 mph in an urban district, driving without an interlock device and exceeding 70 mph on a primary/secondary highway.

Both Messick and Dunks are scheduled for appearances in circuit court on Friday.

 

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