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Iron Range pursuit suspect was facing many charges

Evan Andrew Lautigar

A Gilbert man was already facing more than a dozen criminal charges, including seven felonies, when he allegedly fled from drug task force agents on the Iron Range last week, sparking an extensive search.

Evan Andrew Lautigar, 27, is accused of ramming a St. Louis County Sheriff's Office squad car while fleeing from a traffic stop in Virginia on Nov. 29, leading authorities on a high-speed chase before he was captured on foot more than two hours later in Gilbert.

Lautigar has had extensive run-ins with the law in recent months, having already faced four open cases before his arrest last week — three of them involving alleged drug sales and another for previously fleeing police.

In a new case filed Friday in State District Court in Virginia, Lautigar was charged with a felony count of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, as well as two lesser traffic offenses.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Michelle Anderson increased Lautigar's bail to $625,000. Lautigar, who now faces a combined 16 charges in five cases, remained in the St. Louis County Jail on Monday.

According to a criminal complaint:

Sgt. Luke Hendrickson, who is assigned to the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, was driving an unmarked squad car when saw Lautigar, who he knew to have a canceled license.

Lautigar parked his SUV on the 300 block of Seventh Street South in Virginia, but left the vehicle running. Due to his "history of fleeing from law enforcement, drug use and unpredictable behavior," Hendrickson pulled his squad up against the driver's door in an attempt to keep Lautigar inside the SUV.

The defendant made eye contact with the deputy and immediately fled, striking the squad in the process. Hendrickson followed him as he erratically sped away, but the deputy ultimately lost sight of Lautigar after he ran a red light and crossed over the U.S. Highway 53 bridge toward Eveleth.

The SUV was later found at a church in Virginia's Midway neighborhood. An extensive search continued for more than two hours until Lautigar was found on foot hiding next to a residence in Gilbert.

Lautigar is scheduled to appear in court on all five cases on Jan. 3.