Arson, Assault, Burglary Charges Filed Against Bruce

AUBURN – Charges have been filed in Nemaha County against an Iowa man accused of ramming a deputy with a stolen pickup truck before setting it on fire and fleeing.

Sean Bruce, 24, of Council Bluffs is charged with assault on an official, driving to avoid arrest, arson and burglary on May 21.

An arrest affidavit says  a sheriff’s deputy was waiting in traffic behind Bruce at an Auburn stoplight, when Bruce backed up, rammed the  police cruiser and took off.

The deputy says he pursued the truck through Auburn on Highway 75 and onto County Road 725 before discontinuing due to muddy conditions.

Smoke was seen at a distance and officers located a woman there. The affidavit says 21-year-old Ashlea Thacker gave deputies the wrong name for the driver, but said he was planning to go to the river and escape. She said he set the truck on fire to destroy fingerprint evidence.

The woman, described as Bruce’s ex-girlfriend, said Bruce did not inform her the truck was stolen until after he backed into the sheriff’s deputy.

Investigators say Bruce met a Nemaha County resident a few miles away and caught a ride back to Auburn.

A $30,000 bond provision was set for Bruce. Arraignment is set June 13.

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