A case of a stolen pickup and possession of firearms came for preliminary hearing in Dawson Court Wednesday morning. Luke Lefever is 31 and currently serving a prison term on unrelated crimes at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution. Lefever faces three felony charges and two misdemeanors relating to incidents on June 4, 2018 in western Dawson County. Nebraska State Patrol Sgt. Nick Jones testified that Lefever was contacted by Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and Gothenburg Police Department near Gothenburg. Lefever was changing a flat tire on a car at the time. Lefever resisted officers as they attempted to place him under arrest for Driving Under a Suspended license. Sgt. Jones says Lefever fled to a nearby residence and stole a John Deere utility vehicle and fled to another residence where he stole a pickup pulling a flatbed trailer. Lefever apparently drove through a pasture towards Interstate 80 and struck a cow in the process. Lefever was appended in a field near Hershey after being confronted by law enforcement. Law officers fired shots at the pickup and injured Lefever.
Dawson County Judge Jeff Wightman determined there was enough evidence presented on the felony charges to bind the case over to Dawson County District Court for trial. An arraignment was set for February 24, 2020 at 9:30am.
Lefever faces felony charges of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Flight to Avoid Arrest and misdemeanor charges of Criminal Mischief and Unauthorized Use of a Propelled Vehicle. Lefever faces five felony charges related to the pursuit in Lincoln County. A preliminary hearing on those charges is scheduled for Friday January 24, 2020 in Lincoln County Court.
Sgt. Jones testified that the deputy at the Gothenburg scene detected the odor of Marijuana and advised he intended to search the vehicle. Lefever protested and indicated he was going to leave the scene. Sgt. Jones said he was uncertain about the order of events after that but, Lefever reportedly resisted after one handcuff was placed and tasered. He continued that then “Mr. Lefever was able to escape and fled the scene”. A later search of the vehicle turned up a rifle and two handguns.
Lefever then fled on foot to a residence were he entered it and confronted a man. Lefever then stole a John Deere Gator, also called an UTV. Sgt. Jones says, from reports, that Lefever then drove the UTV towards the deputy. The deputy fired one round into the front of the UTV. Lefever drove the UTV to another residence where he stole a pickup attached to a flatbed trailer. Lefever drove through a field and several fences to Interstate 80 and traveled westbound into Lincoln County. A cow was struck before the pickup and trailer made it to the Interstate.
During Sgt. Jones’s testimony, Dawson County Public Defender Ken Harbison raised an objection and moved to strike Sgt. Jones’ testimony but, his motion was overruled.
Lefever, is currently serving a 48 to 50-year prison term at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution for a separate pursuit on New Year’s Eve 2018 in Howard County.
Both of Lefever’s current cases in Dawson and Lincoln counties are being prosecuted by the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office. The AGO issued a statement is response to a KRVN Radio inquiry:
“Our involvement in the prosecution of Mr. LaFever stems from our involvement in his prosecution in Howard County, for a series of acts that are factually similar to his crimes in Lincoln and Dawson County; the fact that these offense occurred in multiple counties making it more practical for a singular prosecutor to handle both cases as opposed to two different county attorneys; and our greater understanding of his unique medical condition through our extensive contacts with the Nebraska Department of Corrections over the past year made it logical for our office to spearhead the prosecution for these additional offenses.”