Man who took police on chase enters plea

Published 10:20 am Friday, September 16, 2016

A Fairmont man charged with multiple felonies in connection with a high-speed chase earlier this month pleaded not guilty Thursday in Freeborn County District Court.

Levi Troy Dahl, 21, faces two counts of criminal vehicular operation, one count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and one count of reckless driving in the chase that reportedly reached speeds of more than 60 mph.

Levi Dahl

Levi Dahl

Court documents state an Albert Lea police officer was heading east on Fountain Street Sept. 6 while on patrol when he noticed the driver of a Chevy Malibu matched the description of a suspect in a Faribault County burglary during which guns had been stolen.

After Dahl did not stop the vehicle after an officer activated his emergency lights, the chase accelerated when the Chevy turned south on Newton Avenue and drove through two stop signs on Newton without slowing down, court documents state.

The vehicle crossed the intersection of Newton Avenue and Main Street against a red light, and “swerved dramatically to avoid a collision with a van in the intersection,” court documents state.

The Chevy then reportedly collided with a vehicle parked facing north on the opposite side of the road, causing both vehicles to go over the curb, the sidewalk and into a municipal parking lot, causing front-end damage.

Before being transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, Dahl reportedly admitted to taking methamphetamine. Two hypodermic needles, a butane torch and a tin containing two small plastic bags and four cotton swabs were found in Dahl’s vehicle, court documents state. One of the bags reportedly field-tested positive for meth.

After being transported to the hospital, Dahl told the officer he “was running from the officer to avoid going to jail,” court documents state

The passenger in the Chevy — Cheyenne Debra Goodhart, 20, of Fairmont — reportedly hit her head during the collision, and was treated and released at the hospital. Goodhart reportedly had a large bruise on her face, and her eye was swollen shut.

A settlement conference is scheduled for Nov. 10, and a jury trial is scheduled for March 14, if the case has not been settled by then.

Dahl will be released from jail today so he can have surgery for a severely broken leg.

Fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle carries a maximum sentence of three years and one day in prison and a $5,000 fine.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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