The second of two people sought by authorities following a chase and search in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in frigid conditions is in custody after he sought medical attention in Dickinson, while the other suspect is being treated for cold-related injuries in Minnesota.
Clancey Lone Fight, 33, of Mandaree, was arrested late Wednesday at a Dickinson hospital where he'd gone for treatment of frostbite, according to Billings County Sheriff Pat Rummel.
Lone Fight and Gabriella Perez-Goodbird, 19, of Mandaree, allegedly stole a pickup from a Fairfield residence on Monday, fled from a traffic stop on Interstate 94 and led law enforcement on a chase into the park's South Unit, where they abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, according to authorities. A two-day search for them involved police dogs, a Highway Patrol airplane and a dozen agencies, Rummel said.
Perez-Goodbird flagged down two out-of-state tourists on the park’s loop road about 3 p.m. Mountain time Wednesday. They called 911 and drove to Medora, Rummel said. Perez-Goodbird was wearing a jacket with a hood but had no outdoor gear with her, the sheriff said.
Overnight low temperatures in the park area during the two days she was outdoors were around zero degrees, and the wind chill was in the teens below zero, according to the National Weather Service.
“How she survived I have no idea,” Rummel said.
When Perez-Goodbird approached John Mallon's car 22 miles from the park entrance, she "looked like she was an hour from her death," the Denver man said. She held her hands above her head and could barely speak.
"She looked like a zombie," Mallon said. "Her hands were blue (from frostbite) and looked like she had a gash of the worst kind."
The woman was able to speak after getting a drink of water, said Mallon's traveling companion, Lindsey Tatum, 21, of Kentucky. Perez-Goodbird initially told them her car had broken down but later said her boyfriend was running from the police. She'd been forced to go with him, she said.
Mallon and Tatum called 911 and headed back toward Medora. Perez-Goodbird was wearing tennis shoes, thin sweat- or pajama-type pants, a hoodie, and a man's coat "that wasn't very thick at all," Tatum said. She said she'd been walking for a couple of hours.
Mallon and Tatum were in the state to fulfill part of Mallon's goal of visiting all 50. North Dakota is his 47th. They'd been to the park's North Unit on Tuesday.
"She was the only person we saw," Mallon said.
Perez-Goodbird was flown Wednesday night to a Minnesota hospital for treatment, according to the sheriff.
The two suspects separated Monday about dusk, Billings County Chief Deputy Dean Wyckoff said. Perez-Goodbird sought shelter under some trees. Lone Fight spent Monday night in a cave or overhanging bluff and made his way to the interstate Tuesday. Perez-Goodbird then spent a second night in the park.
She and Lone Fight had been dating, Rummel said. It’s unclear how the two became separated on Monday. The sheriff was able to speak with Perez-Goodbird only briefly Wednesday before she was taken to a Dickinson hospital. She is still a suspect in the vehicle theft, Wyckoff said.
"We'll have to interview her when she's capable of answering," he said. "She was pretty shook up, hypothermic."
Lone Fight is in custody at Burleigh Morton Detention Center in Bismarck. State court records show he has a lengthy criminal history of assault, fleeing and reckless endangerment convictions, along with driving violations. He was wanted on a federal warrant for a probation violation in an assault case, according to Rummel. He's listed on the jail roster as a federal prisoner.
Terry Allen Smith, 34, appeared by video from the Yellowstone County Detention Center. He pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges against him.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com