West Fargo man accused of ramming Clay County squad cars faces new charges in Cass County

Dustin Swiers
Dustin Douglas Swiers, aka Dustin Alexander Depiano

FARGO — A West Fargo man serving roughly four years in prison for ramming a vehicle into Clay County squad cars faces burglary and theft charges in Cass County in connection with the same incident.

Dustin Alexander Depiano, 31, was charged Thursday, Nov. 7, with five counts, including theft, burglary, fleeing a peace officer and reckless endangerment, in relation to vehicle pursuits last winter that sent a Clay County sheriff's deputy to the hospital.

The investigation into Depiano began around 12:40 a.m. Feb. 25 after the Cass County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a residential burglary in rural West Fargo, according to court documents. A vehicle stolen from the home was spotted around 2:15 a.m. in Clay County, court documents said. At one point, it exceeded 100 mph.

Officers lost the vehicle once and canceled a second pursuit in Moorhead for safety reasons. When a deputy spotted the car for a third time, it backed into the squad car’s passenger side at a high rate of speed, court documents said.

A second squad car was rammed head on, causing the airbags to deploy, according to court documents. Depiano was arrested after the vehicle got stuck in a snowbank.


Depiano, also known as Dustin Douglas Swiers, initially faced seven felony charges in Clay County but pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and fleeing a peace officer. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Clay County District Judge Michelle Lawson sentenced him to 52 months in prison. A hearing has not been set for the Cass County charges.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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