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Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald , Published August 22 2012

Deputies catch wanted Grand Forks man after high-speed chase through Larimore

LARIMORE, N.D. — Grand Forks County Sheriff’s deputies caught a wanted man Wednesday evening after they chased him at high speed from the highway and through the town’s streets before he abandoned his car and fled on foot.

Joseph Bruce was arrested about 7:15 p.m., about two hours after the chase began west of Grand Forks on U.S. Highway 2.

A Grand Forks resident, he is about 33 and has a long criminal history, including felony convictions for assault, theft and attacking a law enforcement officer. A bench warrant was issued for Bruce a few days ago, asking any officer to arrest him on sight, stemming from a July charge of misdemeanor assault in Grand Forks court.

Deputy Mike Lee said Bruce fled a residence Wednesday afternoon when a deputy arrived to serve the bench warrant.

It was known he intended to drive to Belcourt, N.D., where he has lived previously, Lee said.

Law enforcement officers were on the look-out for him and spotted him on Highway 2. He fled an attempted stop, reaching high speeds in a chase that included a spike strip put down by officers.

Bruce had a passenger in his black Pontiac with Minnesota plates when he turned south on state Highway 18 heading toward Larimore, a city of 1,400 about 28 miles west of Grand Forks.

He screamed through the streets of Larimore, at one point cutting across the corner of Mutch Oil to take Fourth Street west, going an estimated 70 mph, witnesses said.

A long-time resident said he was getting ready to mow his lawn along Clark Avenue, across from the elementary school on the west side, when the Pontiac sped around a corner and flashed by him going north.

“You couldn’t believe how fast he was going,” said the retired man who asked that his name not be published. “Then he hit that intersection there, that has two dips, and I think he went airborne.”

The car was rolling on at least one flat tire, making lots of noise, the man said.

It appeared fluid from the engine leaked out in a long streak on the street after that intersection.

About a block north, Bruce bailed out of his car across the street from a soybean field.

Paul Hebert was riding with Bruce and gave deputies a statement. Hebert told the Herald he didn’t know Bruce well but had caught a ride with him to Larimore, his home town.

Hebert was released.

For about 90 minutes, deputies walked and drove streets in Larimore, searching in school buses, under trailer homes, while children biked around and adults stood watching the excitement.

An aircraft from the U.S. Border Patrol flew a steady loop over the city.

A police officer from Northwood, 15 miles to the south, showed up to help.

Deputy Chris Smith said by about 7:15 p.m., Bruce was found in Larimore and arrested without incident.

By 9 p.m., Bruce was booked into county jail.