Details Released On Death Of SD Sheriff’s Deputy During Car Chase

Ken Prorok

      We now know how a South Dakota sheriff’s deputy died Friday during a car chase on the far eastern side of the state and why the driver being chased has been charged with 1st-degree murder.

       Court records show 51-year old Moody County Chief Deputy Ken Prorok was struck by the vehicle driven by 40-year old Joseph Hoek of Sioux Falls while putting out spikes to try to stop it and that a witness said Hoek intentionally drove at Prorok and hit him.

      Hoek was ordered held without bail Monday at his first court appearance in Moody County northeast of Sioux Falls. 

       South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is prosecuting the case himself and says he still needs to review mitigating factors and meet with Prorok’s family and the Moody County’s Sheriff’s Office before deciding whether to seek the death penalty.

      Manuel De Castro, Hoek’s attorney, says his client was “overcharged,” and that “there are some mental health issues that need to be explored.”

      A Division of Criminal Investigation special agent wrote in a court filing Sunday that people close to Hoek described him as being on a “downward spiral” marked by drug use and escalating threats of violence. 

     . The agent also described the actions that led up to Prorock’s death. He wrote that Madison police responded to a call about Hoek making “homicidal threats” near the business where the caller worked. 

       When police tried to stop Hoek’s car, he sped off on Hwy 34 toward Interstate 29 at speeds reaching 115 mph. Prorok stopped to deploy stop spikes across Hwy 34, but the witness said the car intentionally swerved and hit the deputy before flipping in a ditch.

       Hoek fled on foot, but the witness ran him down and held him until officers arrived. First responders pronounced Prorok dead at the scene while drugs and alcohol were found in and around Hoek’s car.

   . Hoek’s mother told investigators that she believed he “was suffering from mental health issues and self-medicating,” but was smart enough to fool mental health professionals who evaluated him.