MOORHEAD — Authorities continued to search for an Otter Tail County man who allegedly led police on a short chase from Moorhead into Fargo before abandoning his vehicle and swimming across the Red River to escape arrest.
Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 20, an officer spotted a blue GMC Yukon driving in the wrong lane by 20th Street and Eighth Avenue South in Moorhead, according to the Moorhead Police Department.
When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the driver sped away, police said. The officer cut off the chase out of concern for public safety.
Shortly after the Moorhead officer discontinued the pursuit, another police officer saw the SUV on Main Avenue in Fargo.
Later, the Fargo Police Department received a call reporting a suspicious vehicle at the end of a cul-de-sac near South Woodcrest Drive in Fargo. Responding officers found the SUV abandoned in Holm Park, 194 N. Woodcrest Drive, where it had crashed into a tree.
Police cleared the scene at the park and started to search for the driver with the help of a police dog and drone. Officers determined the suspect swam across the Red River from Holm Park to MB Johnson Park in Moorhead, police said.
Officers tracked the suspect into Moorhead with the help of a police dog but could not find him.
The SUV's registered owner was Jeremiah Ard, 36, of Dent, who is wanted for felony fleeing a police officer, according to police. A complaint has been filed with the Clay County Attorney’s Office.
Moorhead police said Ard is not currently a threat to the public. Authorities towed and impounded his vehicle.