South Dakota Fugitive Carjacks Man At Gunpoint Near Gillette, Deputy Hospitalized After High-Speed Chase

Campbell County Sheriff's deputies and Gillette police officers chased, spiked, surrounded, ambushed and fought with a South Dakota man brandishing a gun during a high-speed chase outside of Gillette on Wednesday. 

Clair McFarland

May 11, 20235 min read

Coy Yellow led Campbell County and Gillette law enforcement on a high-speed chase Wednesday in which he allegedly hospitalized a deputy, carjacked a truck and held a man at gunpoint.
Coy Yellow led Campbell County and Gillette law enforcement on a high-speed chase Wednesday in which he allegedly hospitalized a deputy, carjacked a truck and held a man at gunpoint. (Campbell County Sheriff's Office)

A man wanted on a parole violation out of South Dakota now has much larger problems in Wyoming after he led police on a high-speed chase, hospitalized a deputy and carjacked a flatbed truck by holding its owner at gunpoint.  

Coy James Yellow, 31, was the “male half” of a domestic dispute call in Rozet about 15 miles east of Gillette, to which Campbell County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded at about 1:08 p.m. Wednesday, Sheriff Scott Matheny told Cowboy State Daily.  

“He didn’t want to talk to us,” said Matheny of Yellow, who fled in a borrowed car when authorities arrived.  

Deputies soon learned that Yellow was wanted out of South Dakota for a parole violation on an original case of drug possession, grand theft auto, burglary and eluding, said Matheny.

He said the agency knew for a while that Yellow “might be in our area,” but hadn’t made contact with him earlier.  

“He takes off on Highway 51,” Matheny recalled. The highway stretches between Moorcroft and Gillette.  

Yellow went toward Gillette, sometimes going “well over 100 miles per hour,” he said.

An Art To It 

Deputies tried twice to spike him over that stretch, but Yellow swerved around the spikes, through a ditch and kept going, said Matheny.  

“You have to be strategic when you spike. There’s an art to it,” he said, adding that sometimes timing and terrain get in the way of that.  

“If they go into the ditch, you roll it back up and continue your chase,” he said.  

Authorities tried again to spike Yellow near the Cam-Plex event center, Matheny said. Yellow drove through a subdivision and found himself in a dead end — “and we think we have him” — but Yellow then barreled though a fence and a yard, and got back onto Highway 59.  

Yellow ran into a sheriff’s deputy, busting the right front tire off the deputy’s vehicle, the sheriff said. 

That deputy was initially hospitalized, but has since been released and was back at work Thursday, Matheny said.  

Limping Along, Jumping Out 

Meanwhile, Yellow’s vehicle was shutting down because it caught a spike somewhere along the way and was damaged in the crash with the deputy. It limped along another half mile, then stopped at a gas station.  

Yellow “jumps out of the vehicle with a gun,” said Matheny, adding that also held a man who was refueling a flatbed truck at gunpoint, then stole the man’s truck.  

Matheny said the driver backed away, and Yellow took off in the truck, but deputies and Gillette police converged around him.  

He said Yellow hit another deputy’s vehicle with the flatbed, but this was a slower impact as Yellow was surrounded. This second crashed deputy vehicle was still drivable.  

Yellow then locked himself into the truck, and deputies forced their way inside.  

One deputy cut himself by breaking the driver’s side window and unlocking the door. He was hospitalized briefly but is fine, Matheny said.  

Another agent entered through the passenger side door, Matheny said, and fought with Yellow until law enforcement personnel got control of Yellow, took the gun from him and handcuffed him.  

“He went to the hospital and got checked out. And now he’s in our jail,” Matheny said.  

Prosecutors are charging Yellow with felony property destruction, aggravated assault, robbery while threatening another, fentanyl possession, causing bodily injury to a peace officer and eluding, Matheny said.  

‘Looking After Us’ 

Matheny said deputies charged into the vehicle despite Yellow having a gun for a few reasons. 

They did not know what they’d find at the family fight scene from which Yellow had fled. The fight turned out to be a verbal altercation only, but deputies didn’t know that during the frantic chase and the arrest that followed.  

“We couldn’t’ get anybody to answer the phone out there, so we weren’t sure what we had at the scene,” said Matheny. “We needed to stop this guy from going any further.”  

Also, Yellow wasn’t brandishing the gun while agents were breaking into the flatbed truck, the sheriff said, but we went for the gun once they got into the truck and fought him.  

“Then he went for the weapon. But we got the gun before he did,” said Matheny. “We were very fortunate. The good Lord was looking after us.”  

The sheriff said he was also grateful for cooperation with the Gillette Police Department.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter