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Two calls lead deputies on chases exceeding 100 mph

Two separate calls on Christmas Eve led area law enforcement on chases exceeding 100 mph and landed two Bemidji men in jail to face several possible charges.

The first call came into dispatchers at 9:16 a.m. Saturday and reported an assault with a knife at a home on Melby Lane in Wilton.

Ricky Lee Lidel, 56, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault and fleeing law enforcement in a motor vehicle, both felonies, along with fleeing officers while on foot and driving after revocation.

According to a news release issued Monday by the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office:

The assault victim sustained a broken nose in a violent encounter with Lidel, who threatened to stab the person with a knife, at the victim's home.

After receiving the call, deputies spotted a silver Grand Am, described by the victim, and attempted to stop Lidel.

However, Lidel drove east on the U.S. Highway 2 bypass from Division Street, leading authorities on a pursuit reaching speeds more than 100 mph. Lidel stopped the car on Highway 2 and attempted to flee on foot when deputies arrested him.

About 12 hours later, law enforcement responded to a call that led to another high-speed chase.

According to a second news release issued Monday:

Jesse Ontiveros, 26, of Bemidji was arrested on suspicion of fleeing officers, interfering with a 911 telephone call and violating a no-contact court order.

Officers responded to a call at 10:05 p.m. Saturday regarding a domestic dispute at a home in the 200 block of 24th Street Northwest. The caller reported Ontiveros was at the home in violation of a court order and the two were currently in a physical altercation.

Dispatchers heard signs of a struggle when Ontiveros grabbed the phone away from the victim and left the home.

Bemidji police officers observed Ontiveros a short time later and attempted to stop him. Ontiveros sped away and eventually headed north on Irvine Avenue.

The news release said Beltrami County deputies also joined in the effort and the chase led to speeds in excess of 100 mph.

"Ontiveros drove in an erratic manner, swerving into the oncoming lane and back and forth across the centerline," the news release said.

Sheriff's deputies used a pursuit intervention technique to stop Ontiveros' driving behavior when he slowed to attempt a turn onto Lumberjack Road Northwest. Ontiveros' vehicle came to rest in the west ditch of Irvine Avenue Northwest near Nebish.

Once in the ditch, Ontiveros attempted to drive his vehicle out of the ditch toward responding officers. A second deputy positioned his marked patrol unit in front of Ontivero's vehicle, which struck the squad car before coming to a stop.

Deputies then arrested Ontiveros.

Two sheriff's vehicles sustained minor damage as a result of the chase.

Both Lidel and Ontiveros were jailed after their arrests and Beltrami County prosecutors will review reports to determine charges in the cases.

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104