No charges yet filed in Feb. bomb scare at USD

Although no charges have yet been filed against a former University of South Dakota student who may have kept explosives in their dorm, it still could happen.

"We were thinking about taking it to the grand jury last time, but the (Division of Criminal Investigation) agent wasn't available," said Clay County State's Attorney Teddi Gertsema. "It's just kind of gotten pushed back."

The incident in question occurred in February when Coyote Village staff members were checking a room that had been vacated by a former student.

During this search they uncovered items that USD manager of media relations Phil Carter termed at the time, "possibly considered explosive in nature."

Campus police and the Vermillion Police Department were notified, and authorities from Sioux Falls – along with a "bomb squad" vehicle – appeared on the scene that same night.

Approximately 20 students were evacuated from Coyote Village as a safety precaution.

The next day it was announced that Elan Haba, a 19-year-old sophomore from the Rutgers-Newark campus in Newark, NJ, was arrested later that night after he was connected with the USD student by officials.

Haba was arrested on charges that include theft, and possession of fireworks and a prohibited weapon. He was released on a summons by Feb. 8.

The name of the USD student has not been released to the public.

Gertsema said prosecution still "depends on what happens from here."

"If we decide we've got enough evidence to charge it, and of course the grand jury would have to hear it," she said. "There are just a lot of steps before it ever gets to court."

The wait is due in part of the difficulty of coordinating the schedules of Gertsema and the DCI, but it isn't unheard of.

"Some cases we charge up to the second the come in, and others we don't," Gertsema said. "It's still hanging."

The statute of limitations does not run out yet "for several years," she added.

The main investigation is being conducted by the DCI.

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