Disorder in the court Local law enforcement officials investigate the damage done after Jada Coover crashed a stolen pickup into the Clay County Courthouse perimeter retaining wall, in the stairway of the county veteran�s memorial. by David Lias A hit and run accident, a vehicular pursuit, a missed trial date, a crash at the Clay County Courthouse, a partial evacuation of the building and a capture of a combative man in the third floor courtroom.
It happened quickly. And, when the dust cleared, no one was hurt and a man scheduled to go on trial before a jury Wednesday morning was in custody in the Clay County Jail, facing a long list of additional charges.
The day's adventure began shortly before 9 a.m., when the Clay County Sheriff�s Department received a request to attempt to locate a pickup suspected of a hit and run accident on Interstate 29 in Union County.
Driver of the fleeing vehicle – a stolen pickup – was Jada Coover, 24, of Sioux City, IA.
A South Dakota Highway Trooper pursued Coover westbound on Highway 50 into Vermillion.
"The vehicle came into town at about 8:51 a.m.," Sheriff Andy Howe said. Coover eventually turned onto Main Street, and continued traveling westbound.
He stopped in front of the courthouse, put the pickup in reverse, and backed into the retaining wall, somehow missing a light pole while neatly fitting the box of the pickup into the opening of the stairway of the Clay County Veteran�s Memorial.
"He shot right up between the cars and the light pole and drove right into the wall," Howe said.
Coover fled into the courthouse at about 8:59 a.m., and he was in custody at 9 a.m. "It was over within 10 minutes," Howe said.
Coover was scheduled to go on trial Wednesday morning in Vermillion. Circuit Court Judge Arthur Rusch had dismissed the jury that morning when Coover failed to appear.
Rusch had left the bench, and was in his office. A few of the jurors had stepped out of the courtroom when Coover entered the building.
Coover, who was incoherent and combative, quickly climbed three flights of stairs and �made a beeline� to the courtroom, Howe said.
Coover didn�t stop at any offices or threaten any people while scampering up the stairs. He also wasn�t carrying any weapons, Howe said.
"About half of the jurors had left, and half of the jurors were still in the courtroom," the sheriff said. "He went in (the courtroom) and actually one of the jurors indicated to the others that the defendant was there, and a few of them went back in.