ShareThis Page

South Dakota trooper: Body found in blanket after car chase

| Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, 7:57 p.m.
This photo provided by the Pennington County Sheriff's Office in Rapid City, S.D. shows Tosten Walsh Lommen. Lommen faces charges including aggravated eluding and drunken driving. Attorney General Marty Jackley's office says state authorities are investigating a 'suspicious death' after a woman's body was found during a search of the vehicle Lommen was driving according to a court affidavit filed Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018.
This photo provided by the Pennington County Sheriff's Office in Rapid City, S.D. shows Tosten Walsh Lommen. Lommen faces charges including aggravated eluding and drunken driving. Attorney General Marty Jackley's office says state authorities are investigating a 'suspicious death' after a woman's body was found during a search of the vehicle Lommen was driving according to a court affidavit filed Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018.

PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota Highway Patrol officials found a dead woman wrapped in a blanket in an SUV stopped after a high-speed chase with a drunken driver from California, a trooper said in a court affidavit filed Tuesday.

A state court complaint says 30-year-old Tosten Walsh Lommen, of Santa Cruz, faces charges including aggravated eluding and drunken driving. Attorney General Marty Jackley's office said in a statement that state authorities are investigating the “suspicious death” after the woman's body was found during a search of the vehicle Lommen was driving.

The Pennington County Clerk of Courts office says Lommen's bond has been set at $2.5 million. It wasn't immediately clear if Lommen has a defense attorney to speak on his behalf about the case.

Lommen — who last year petitioned in California to change his full name to Israel — is being held in the Pennington County Jail.

Trooper Jeremy Biegert said in the court affidavit that a Highway Patrol sergeant initiated a traffic stop Monday after observing Lommen driving over 100 mph on I-90 in western South Dakota. Biegert said he joined the pursuit after recording the vehicle's speed at 118 mph.

The vehicle, which is registered to someone else, eventually came to rest in a ditch after officials used spike strips to destroy both front tires, Biegert said. He said Lommen attempted to flee on foot before getting pulled from a chain link fence and handcuffed on the ground.

Biegert said he smelled alcohol, and a breath test found Lommen had a blood alcohol level of 0.142, which is above the DUI threshold of 0.08. Officials allegedly found a growler that smelled of alcohol and prescription bottles in the SUV.

Biegert said officials found the woman's body in the rear of the vehicle. Attorney General spokeswoman Sara Rabern said in an email that officials are working to identify the body. She said the investigation is still ongoing when asked if authorities know why it was in the vehicle.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.