South Dakota man charged with murder for running down chief deputy in 115-mph police chase.

South Dakota prosecutors have filed charges against a Sioux Falls man for the first-degree murder and aggravated eluding of Moody County Chief Deputy Ken Prorok. Joseph Gene Hoek, 40, appeared in court and was ordered to be held without bail. The incident occurred during a police chase, where Deputy Prorok was struck while putting out spikes on the road. The murder charge carries a maximum sentence of death or life without parole. Hoek’s defense attorney mentioned that there may be mental health issues to explore. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley will decide whether to seek the death penalty after investigating any mitigating factors and consulting with the victim’s family and law enforcement officials. Hoek’s acquaintances described him as being on a “downward spiral” marked by drug use and escalating threats of violence. The chase reached speeds of 115 mph before Hoek intentionally swerved and struck Deputy Prorok, causing his death. Hoek fled on foot but was later apprehended. The investigation found suspected THC vapes, marijuana paraphernalia, and cold medicine in Hoek’s car. Hoek claimed to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks that sometimes affected his memory. His mother believed he had mental health issues and was self-medicating. The charges against Hoek are based on evidence gathered during the investigation. The prosecutor expressed appreciation for the diligent work of law enforcement agencies involved in the case.

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