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Rice County accuses Mendota Heights man of fleeing and test refusal

Rice County accuses Mendota Heights man of fleeing and test refusal

Rice County authorities accuse a Mendota Heights, Minnesota man of felony fleeing police and a separate charge of implied consent test refusal after an alleged police chase last Monday. Law enforcement says dispatchers received two reports of a Jeep Cherokee driving on Interstate 35 near Faribault with its hazard flashers on. Authorities claim that the callers said the Jeep was occupying both lanes of the interstate.

A Minnesota State trooper reportedly was in the area and followed the Jeep as the driver alleged made a U-turn to head north on I-35. The trooper says that he activated his lights and sirens, but the Cherokee failed to stop. Law enforcement claims that officers followed the driver for a period of time in an odd form of so-called police chase.

The Jeep reportedly continued moving between 40 and 60 miles per hour during the alleged 12 mile police chase. Rice County deputies claim that spike strips were thrown down to end the chase. Law enforcement says that the Jeep rolled over the strips, but the tires did not deflate to end the pursuit.

Rice County prosecutors claim that the 33-year-old driver appeared to fall asleep periodically during the pursuit. The Minnesota State Highway Patrol trooper eventually called over his loud speaker, commanding the driver to pull over, according to the recent charges. The driver immediately pulled over. He says that he did nothing wrong, but says that he was doing everything for his daughter.

Law enforcement searched the man’s car and found $13,000 in cash that authorities say was earned legally. Police claim that the father had bloodshot eyes, but a breath test at the jail showed that the man had not been drinking before the 11:37 a.m. stop on President’s Day. Officials claim that the man with bloodshot eyes thanked law enforcement for saving his life when the trooper approached the pulled over Jeep.

Despite an apparent breath test, the man is now facing a test refusal charge. Authorities claim that the man refused to take a drug test. It is not clear whether law enforcement allegedly asked for a blood sample or a urine sample.

Refusing to take an implied consent chemical test in Minnesota is a crime. Our state’s implied consent laws have broad application, and the state penalizes test refusal cases harshly.

The Mendota Heights man, however, faces potential prison time for the alleged police chase. Fleeing police in a motor vehicle is considered a felony level offense. The man could be facing up to four years in Minnesota prison of convicted of the charges.

Source: Mendota Heights Patch, “After 12-Mile Car Chase, Mendota Heights Man Thanks Trooper For Saving His Life,” Zac Farber, Feb. 20, 2013

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