A longtime Minnesota criminal had police on his trail when he ditched his SUV in Fargo and swam away across the swift-moving Red River to Moorhead in the middle of the night, police said.
Jeremiah Ard, 36, of Dent, eluded law enforcement Wednesday on both sides of the river as well as the deployment of a drone and K-9, said Moorhead Police Capt. Deric Swenson.
Police announced Thursday that they caught up with Ard in Otter Tail County and arrested him.
“It was probably ill-advised” to try and swim the 50 or so yards while the current is stronger than normal historically, said Grand Forks-based National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Ritterling.
According to police:
A Moorhead police officer saw Ard’s SUV heading the wrong way near 20th Street and 8th Avenue S. shortly before 1 a.m. and then driving over a residential lawn a few blocks away. The officer attempted to pull over Ard, but he sped off.
The SUV was next spotted by a witness in Fargo on Main Avenue and then located unoccupied at the end of a cul-de-sac, engine running and abutting a tree.
A Fargo police K-9, with a drone assisting from above, tracked Ard to the river near Holm Park.
“He is believed to have successfully crossed the river due to the K-9 continuing a track [into] Moorhead for a significant distance,” the police statement said. “It appears he swam across the Red River.”
Ard’s criminal history in Minnesota includes three convictions for assault and one each for a weapons possession violation, domestic abuse, receiving stolen property and fleeing police.
In 2011, he was convicted of obstructing police outside a bar in Perham, Minn., where he was involved in a brawl and punched an officer.