Update: NRHEG schools taken off lockdown

Published 2:31pm Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Police ask for help finding stolen car, man who fled

NEW RICHLAND — New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva schools were locked down Tuesday afternoon as police searched for a man about a half mile south of New Richland who fled from a traffic stop into a cornfield.

The man, who has not been identified, had a felony warrant out for his arrest. He was not found and is believed to have taken a 2004 black Honda Pilot, which was reported missing from the south part of the city at about 2 p.m., according to the New Richland Police Department.

The Police Department is calling on the public to help find the automobile, which has a license plate number of 131 GCH.

The lockdown began after a New Richland officer stopped the man at about 1:30 p.m. He reportedly fled into a cornfield west of the stop location.

Though there was no direct threat toward the school, officers contacted the school district because of the incident’s proximity, according to the New Richland police. The man’s warrant was for failing to appear at his sentencing for possession of burglary tools.

Superintendent Dennis Goodwin said after receiving the notification, the secondary school was placed on hard lockdown, where students and teachers secured themselves inside their classrooms and were not allowed to move around the building. All the doors to the building were secured and checked.

At the same time, the elementary school in Ellendale was placed under a soft lockdown, where students could move around in their classes, but the outside doors were locked and teachers increased monitoring in the hall.

“I was extremely impressed how well all of our students, staff, administrators and law enforcement worked together to ensure the safety of our two schools,” Goodwin said.

A news release stated New Richland police officers, Waseca County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Minnesota State Patrol troopers set up a perimeter of the area to search for the man by land and air. The lockdown was lifted before 2:30 p.m., and students were released at 3:05 p.m. Additional patrol officers were stationed near the school as a precautionary measure at that time.

Look to the Tribune for more information as it becomes available.