Lots Of Excitement For Emergency Services In Chadron One Year Ago Today


     A year removed, there’s no question that May 12, 2023, in the Chadron area could be described using the title of an award-winning 1972 children’s book because in many ways it was A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

     The problems started the day before on Thursday, May 11, when the area received about 2” of rain in 18 hours, leading Dawes County officials on the 12th to close a number of rural roads.

    Things got a little worse a little before 9:00 am when lightning struck a piece of Nebraska Public Power District equipment and caused a power outage in Chadron. Nearly 2,000 customers were affected, but electricity was restored in about 90 minutes.

     Over 900 miles to the east in Wisconsin, funeral services were held for 29-year old Chadron High School graduate Kaitlin “Katie” Stevens Leising, a St Croix County Sheriff’s deputy who’d been gunned down and killed during a traffic stop.

    Over 3,000 mourners turned out for the funeral or paid respects to Stevens Leising as some 1,500 law enforcement officers from multiple states held a brief additional service before forming a miles-long funeral procession. 

      Back in Chadron, the city suffered its first armed robbery of a financial institution in years when an armed man held up the Chadron Federal Credit Union about 2:30. 

     No one was hurt and video surveillance provided clear photos of the suspect, who successfully fled on foot with about $15,000 in cash. He remains at large. 

     Capping the day was an intensive nearly 5-hour evening search that began at Memorial Park, continued across the south end of the Chadron State College campus, and ended without incident in the Hidden Valley area. 

    36-year old Warfield High Hawk was charged with 5 felonies and 2 misdemeanors, but in December accepted a plea agreement and pled No Contest to 3 felonies. He was sentenced to 10-to-16 years in prison in March and will be eligible for parole in 6 years.