Albert Lea man pleads not guilty to high-speed chase

Published 9:40 am Friday, November 18, 2016

An Albert Lea man charged with leading officers on a vehicle chase that reportedly reached speeds of more than 100 mph pleaded not guilty Thursday in Freeborn County District Court.

Sam Irvin Thompson, 19, is charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

Court documents state an Albert Lea Police Department officer was on routine patrol shortly before 10 p.m. Oct. 24 near William Street when he noticed a silver pickup truck without its headlights on.

Sam Irvin Thompson

Sam Irvin Thompson

The vehicle reportedly sped up and ran stop signs at two intersections after the officer activated his emergency lights.

The vehicle turned south on Euclid Avenue, then west on Main Street, court documents state, before the vehicle continued west with the officer pursuing and reached speeds of about 80 mph.

The vehicle reportedly ran another red light at the intersection of Main Street and Minnesota Highway 13, before continuing to Freeborn County Road 46, where speeds reached 105 mph.

Court documents state the vehicle turned into a plowed bean field, through the field, over railroad tracks and into a corn field, before driving through a yard and onto Lake Chapeau Drive and coming to a stop at a tree line.

Thompson was found in a nearby wooded area and arrested for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and two warrants.

Joseph Waltz Jr. 21, of Emmons, who was also in the vehicle, was ordered to the ground approximately 30 feet from the vehicle.

An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Thompson is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Waltz pleaded not guilty to fleeing a peace officer by means other than a motor vehicle in October. A settlement conference is scheduled for March 9.

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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