Grand Forks man pleads not guilty to stealing construction vehicle, driving under the influence

Manny Coy Clifford, 30, could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted of stealing a construction vehicle valued at about $270,000 last month.

A gavel with books behind it.

A Grand Forks man made his first court appearance on Monday, May 24, after being accused of stealing a car and leading police on a chase through Grand Forks last month.

Manny Coy Clifford, 30, is charged with theft of more than $50,000, possession of a Schedule II amphetamine, driving under suspension, driving under the influence and refusal to halt. All charges are misdemeanors with the exception of the theft charge, for which Clifford could spend up to 20 years in prison and could pay up to $20,000 in fines, if convicted.

According to court documents, police were dispatched to the 600 block of First Avenue North just before midnight on April 17 for a report of criminal mischief in progress.

Once at the scene, GFPD Officer Matthew Kippley observed a construction vehicle driving westbound on First Avenue with no lights on, Kippley wrote in an affidavit. Kippley said he attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but the driver allegedly ignored the cruiser's flashing lights and Kippley's commands to stop.

Kippley wrote that the vehicle stopped a short time later, and the driver, later identified as Clifford, proceeded to flee on foot. A foot chase ensued.


Once Kippley caught up to Clifford, he drew his sidearm and commanded Clifford to get on the ground, according to court docs, and Clifford complied.

Once Clifford was in custody, court documents state that Kippley observed signs that Clifford was under the influence of alcohol. A breathalyzer result later showed his BAC was 0.201, documents state.

At the Grand Forks County Correctional Center, GFPD Cpl. Ryan Wadlow found eight orange pills on Clifford's person which were later identified as a Schedule II amphetamine.

Dispatch also informed the officers that Clifford's license was suspended in North Dakota with four prior convictions, and a search of the model of the construction vehicle that was stolen placed its value at about $270,000, documents state. The affidavit also says that Clifford did not have consent from Community Contractors to take possession of the vehicle.

According to police, Clifford refused to speak with officers following the incident. At his initial court appearance on Monday, he entered a plea of not guilty.

He is next scheduled to appear in court for a final dispositional conference on Aug. 8.

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