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Officers, Dog Assaulted In Police Chase

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A Sioux Falls man is being charged with assaulting two police officers, and a police dog.  The incident began when an officer spotted the man driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

It was just after 7 p.m. on Saturday when an officer tried to pull over 51-year-old David Mortensbak for a traffic stop. But during the stop, police say Mortensbak refused to turn off his vehicle.

Officer Sam Clemens said, "The officer was trying to get the keys to turn the vehicle off the driver ended up punching him in the face."

That's when Mortensbak drove off, causing a pursuit to occur. Several blocks into the pursuit, Mortensbak turned onto Lincoln Avenue, where his car pick-up would meet railroad tracks, a dead end.

Clemens said, "The truck tried to turn to parallel the railroad tracks but ended up hitting a parked trailer."

Police say with his canine, the officer opened the door to Mortensbak's truck, that's when Mortensbak slammed the door on the dog. Mortensbak was eventually taken into custody but not before kicking another officer and receiving a few bite wounds.

Sgt. Jon Lohr said, "Those type of calls come out frequently but it's pretty rare when our dogs are actually used to apprehend people."

Lohr, who has been with the Sioux Falls Police Department's canine unit for 14 years, says officers often use their canines to detect drugs and track a suspect but rarely to apprehend one, only two or three times a year.
Lohr said, "These are people that have not complied with the officers, they've made an obvious attempt to escape, they're doing things that make our job so dangerous that they're the best option for us."

Making it even more rare, that a dog gets injured by a suspect.

"Occasionally a dog does get injured, but most the time it actually occurs from fixed objects that they run into, trying to leap fences, as opposed to the suspect actually injuring them," said Lohr.

The officers as well as the K-9 don't appear to have any injuries from the incident. As for Mortensbak he was treated and released from the hospital for bite wounds.

Mortenbak was arrested on a number of charges including three counts of simple assault on an officer for assaulting two different officers and the K-9 which is a felony. He faces one count of resisting arrest, obstructing law enforcement, aggravated elluding, reckless driving, his 2nd DWI, wreckless driving, driving with a revoked drivers license and open container.
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