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Deputy on road to recovery after injury during pursuit

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A Saunders County deputy’s cruiser plunged into a creek in west-central Saunders County on Jan. 6 after a pursuit. The deputy was injured, but has been released from the hospital.

WAHOO – A deputy with the Saunders County Sheriff’s Office is home from the hospital after a fiery crash ended a police pursuit last week.

Deputy Dominic Leuck was attempting a traffic stop on Dustin A. Hayes, 26, of Prague, when the pursuit began at approximately 10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6 on Highway 79 near County Road N in west-central Saunders County.

As the deputy initiated the stop, Hayes immediately turned onto County Road N and drove away at a high rate of speed. That is when the pursuit was initiated, according to a press release from Sheriff Chris Lichtenberg’s office.

Hayes lost control of his vehicle and rolled in a field. After losing visual contact with the suspect, Leuck lost control of his cruiser, which landed in a creek. The vehicle caught fire and was engulfed in flames, the press release said.

First responders from the Prague and Malmo fire and rescue departments were called to the scene. Leuck was transported to Saunders Medical Center in Wahoo with multiple injuries, including a fractured rib, torn ligament in one ankle, fractured cheek bone, bruised lungs, concussion, bruises and lacerations. He was taken to Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha for observation.

Hayes sustained minor injuries. Once he was medically cleared, Hayes was taken to Saunders County Corrections.

Hayes was cited for flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, driving during revocation, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce and speeding.

Leuck was released from the hospital on Jan. 7.

“He is on the road to recovery and appreciates the support from everyone,” the press release said.

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