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Man in high-speed chase gets 2 years in prison

A man charged in connection with a high-speed chase last September in Albert Lea was sentenced to nearly two years in prison Thursday in Freeborn County District Court.

Levi Troy Dahl, 22, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation and reckless driving in December. He was given credit for 208 days served.

The chase reportedly reached speeds of more than 60 mph and resulted in a two-vehicle crash near Freeborn County Courthouse.

Prior to sentencing, Gary Schreiber, whose truck was struck by Dahl’s vehicle during the chase, requested Dahl pay the $500 deductible incurred when the truck was totaled.

Levi Dahl

“It was his decision,” he said. “He should be held for restitution.”

The truck was valued at $25,900.

“He could have killed his girlfriend. He could have killed himself,” Schreiber said.

Dahl’s lawyer, Jeremy Clinefelter, requested Judge Ross Leuning sentence Dahl to nearly 1 1/2 years in prison.

“Mr. Dahl took accountability,” he said. Dahl’s numerous criminal offenses last year and his fleeing law enforcement to the state of California last September were caused by his addiction to methamphetamine, Clinefelter said.

The lawyer said he did not recognize Dahl when he first saw him in jail due to a change in his appearance, noting he has gained weight and now looks healthier. The only other injury in the crash was sustained by the passenger in the Chevy, Cheyenne Debra Goodhart, Clinefelter said.

Goodhart hit her head during the collision and was treated and released at the hospital. She reportedly had a large bruise on her face, and her eye was swollen shut.

Prior to sentencing, Dahl apologized to Schreiber and acknowledged his lengthy criminal history.

“I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in the last few years,” he said.

Dahl said he has been in treatment and committed to paying restitution. He said he has a family member who is dying of heart failure.

“I was in a bad way,” he said. “I just want to apologize to the community.

“I’m just hoping to take responsibility for my actions. I know I was wrong.”

Leuning said he was concerned that Dahl fled to California and noted his lengthy criminal history.

“You’ve dug yourself a deep hole, and it will follow you for a good long time,” he said.

Dahl received two stayed prison sentences of less than two years Monday in Faribault County after he pleaded guilty last month to two counts of third-degree burglary in connection with the theft of cash, tools and guns from a Faribault County business owner.

In one file, he was sentenced to 207 days in jail and received credit for 207 days served. On the other file, he was sentenced to 205 days in jail and received credit for 205 days served.

At the time of the chase in Freeborn County, Dahl was trying to evade authorities after a warrant for his arrest was issued in Faribault County.

Prior to sentencing, Dahl was in prison on cases that were running concurrently in  Freeborn and Martin counties. He was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison in November in Freeborn County for a probation violation in connection with a case of second-degree burglary. He was given credit for 137 days served. In December, he was sentenced to more than one year in prison in Martin County for fifth-degree drug possession and was given credit for 98 days served.

About Sam Wilmes

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

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