LE MARS, Iowa | After a search involving numerous law enforcement agencies, a Le Mars man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of assaulting a Le Mars resident and a Merrill, Iowa, police officer Saturday.

Merrill Police Chief Brad Brooks said Randall Hurlbut, 52, is suspected of an assault that occurred at a residence in Le Mars Saturday afternoon.

Lt. Bob Bendlin, with the Le Mars Police Department, said Saturday police responded to a report of a disturbance in Le Mars around 3:40 p.m. Hurlbut fled the scene of a domestic assault before officers arrived, Bendlin said.

At around 4:15 p.m., according to a news release from the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Hurlbut's vehicle was spotted by a Merrill police officer, who attempted to make a traffic stop. Hurlbut failed to stop for several blocks, then left his car and ran toward a cornfield on the south edge of Merrill. The officer pursued on foot, and an altercation occurred between the two before Hurlbut fled into the cornfield.

The officer was assaulted but was not injured, Brooks said.

After an extensive search of the cornfield Saturday by the Le Mars and Merrill police departments, the Plymouth County and Sioux County sheriff's offices, the Plymouth County Conservation department, and the Iowa State Patrol, the suspect was not found, according to the news release. The search involved Iowa State Patrol aircraft.

On Sunday afternoon, Brooks said Hurlbut was seen near Merrill on County Road K42. Officers attempted to apprehend Hurlbut, but he again escaped into a cornfield.

“It’s annoying, is what it is. We’ll get him soon,” Brooks said at 4 p.m. Sunday.

At about 5 p.m. Sunday, Hurlbut was seen behind a gas station in Merrill by a resident, who called the police, Brooks said. Hurlbut was arrested by Plymouth County and Sioux County sheriff's deputies, according to the news release, and taken to the Plymouth County Jail.

The Le Mars Police Department charged Hurlbut with second-degree robbery, a felony; domestic abuse and assault, a felony; third-degree theft, a misdemeanor; and obstruction of emergency communications, a misdemeanor.

Hurlbut will face a Merrill Police Department charge of assault on a law enforcement officer, Brooks said.


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