A Rapid City man is facing criminal charges after being accused of kidnapping a woman Tuesday and leading law enforcement on high-speed chase with their baby in tow.
Steven Jackson, 38, was arrested on charges of second-degree kidnapping, simple assault (domestic violence) and aggravated eluding from law enforcement, the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Jackson has been charged with assaulting the same woman in the past and may face additional charges in other counties related to Tuesday's incident.
It was a "sigh of relief" to find the baby safe after the high-speed chase and crash, said Kristina Weckman, one of the deputies who cared for the infant before the mother arrived.
The incident began around 4 p.m. Tuesday after a report that a man assaulted and kidnapped a woman at a truck stop near Exit 61 on Interstate 90 in Rapid City, according to a news release and Helene Duhamel, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office. The woman was able to escape, but the infant was left sitting in the unbuckled car seat.
Knowing the baby was in the car and could be injured in a crash made it the most stressful pursuit in her eight years with the sheriff's office, Weckman said.
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Multiple law enforcement agencies pursued the vehicle that at times reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. After several hours, Pennington County deputies used road spikes to disable the vehicle. The car managed to continue before crashing into a ditch. The baby was found safe in the vehicle while Jackson fled on foot before he was arrested north of New Underwood in Meade County around 8 p.m., Duhamel said.
Weckman said the baby was in good spirits when she first picked him up, but he became "a little stressed out and a little hungry" once he realized she wasn't his mother.
The victim had met with Jackson to regain custody of her child, the news release says. A temporary protection order had already been issued ordering the child to be removed from Jackson's custody, but he had not yet been served.
Law enforcement involved in the incident included the South Dakota Highway Patrol; Pennington, Meade and Jackson county sheriff's offices; and the Rapid City, Box Elder and Summerset police departments.
"It was a huge, collaborative team effort," Weckman said.