Suspect in high-speed pursuit charged in Mower County

Published 12:04 pm Friday, May 29, 2009

Charges were filed Wednesday in Mower County against a man who allegedly led police on a wild, 38-mile high-speed chase driving a stolen squad car.

Jeremy Winkel, 27, of Austin, faces four felony charges, which include two counts of theft, and one each of second-degree aggravated assault and fleeing a police officer. Winkel also faces a felony charge in Worth County, Iowa, where he is in custody.

The incident began last week when Mower County deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call from a home in Lyle. Winkel had allegedly threatened his father with a knife and then fled on a bicycle.

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Deputies set up a perimeter and searched the area, while also calling in Austin police and the canine unit. About 35 minutes into the search, an unfamiliar voice came over the police radio asking what would happen to the suspect if caught. Police determined the voice to be Winkel’s, coming from the canine unit squad car, and they were able to pursue the vehicle via its GPS signal.

The chase then ensued, with the suspect taking Highway 218 into Iowa. Speeds reportedly reached 120 mph, and at one point, a deputy accidentally slammed into the stolen car, causing damage to both vehicles. After crossing between Iowa and Minnesota, the suspect again made a radio call, this time to Austin dispatch arranging to turn himself in at the Northwood, Iowa, fire hall. Winkel was apprehended there and handed over to Northwood police.

Winkel was convicted in January 2009 of gross misdemeanor assaulting a peace officer and of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle in 2008.

Austin police are investigating how the Winkel allegedly got into the squad car.