Conde man found alive after day-long search Wednesday

CONDE, S.D. (By Elisa Sand – After searching much of the day Wednesday, a Conde man was found early this morning at his home.

Law enforcement had been looking for Chad Hearnen after he fled the scene of a traffic stop around 2 a.m. near Bath on U.S. Highway 12. Dave Lunzman, Chief Deputy for the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, said Hearnen was pulled over for a routine traffic stop, but fled after the deputy asked for his license and registration. Hearnen led the deputy on a short pursuit before he ended up in a ditch south of Bath on 397th Avenue, Lunzman said. That’s when Hearnen left his vehicle and fled on foot.

Lunzman said Hearnen was last heard by the deputy near the James River.

As this incident remains under investigation, Lunzman said, he can’t share many details of what transpired and why Hearnen fled, but he confirm Hearnen did end up in the James River.

“He’s very lucky,” Lunzman said.

But, he said, there will be consequences and charges are pending, he said. Those will be determined by the Brown County State’s Attorney’s office after reviewing the reports, he said.

“The minor violation and minor ticket certainly would have been a lot cheaper than what he went through and will go through,” Lunzman said.

At this point Hearnen was found, but was not taken into custody, Lunzman said.

Brown County Emergency Management, Aberdeen Fire & Rescue, Game Fish and Parks, Groton Police Department, Spink County Sheriff’s Office and Aberdeen Flying Service assisted the Brown County Sheriff’s Office with the search, which was conducted by plane, drone, boat and foot, Lunzman said, noting that local pilot Mark Haven has never hesitated when asked to help.