The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Rob Langrell
Publisher of the Sun-Telegraph 

Man involved in car chase across state lines appears in court


The man accused of leading police on a car chase last month on Interstate 80 – that included a short standoff – was in Cheyenne County Court on Thursday for a probable casue hearing.

Joseph M. Mladenik, 40, of Cheyenne, Wyo., has been charged with four felonies in the incident. They are three counts of possessing a firearm during commission of a felony and operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest.

Judge Randin Roland ruled Thursday that there is probable cause to belive that Mladenik committed the offense. The judge set bond at $50,000. Arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 13 at 8:30 a.m.

Nebraska State Troopers Travis Ahrendt and Brian Eads testified Thurday about the Sept. 16 incident.

On that day, Nebraska law enforcement officials were alerted by the Wyoming Highway Patrol that they had discontinued a pursuit of a 2005 gray Ford Explorer at the state line at about 3 p.m. The driver of the vehicle, who was believed to be armed, was wanted on a warrant out of Laramie County for stalking.

The vehicle entered Nebraska eastbound on Interstate 80 where the Kimball County Sheriff’s Office and the Kimball Police Department picked up the pursuit.

At approximately 3:20 pm, three miles west of Potter, the Nebraska State Patrol took over the pursuit. Troopers successfully deployed two sets of stop sticks flattening tires on the vehicle. The vehicle went into the median on I-80 just west of Sidney, crossed the westbound lanes and ended up in the ditch on the north side of the interstate. Speeds had approached 90 mph during the chase, according to court documents.

The driver failed to respond to commands to exit the vehicle. A portion of westbound I-80 near the vehicle was closed as troopers continued to try and contact the driver.

Approximately 45 minutes after the pursuit ended, the driver, who was identified as Mladenik, exited the vehicle and was taken into custody without incident.

Mladenik was transported to Sidney Regional Medical Center for observation. After his release, he was taken to the Scottsbluff County Jail.

The Nebraska State Patrol was assisted by the Cheyenne County Sheriff’s Office and the Sidney Police Department during the arrest.

Mladenik is represented by attorney Steven Elmshaeuser in the case.


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