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Minnesota man charged with 11th OWI after Superior traffic stop

Richard Allen Ellenberger1 / 2
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A Minnesota man accused of driving while intoxicated for an 11th time waived his preliminary hearing in Douglas County Circuit Court on April 17.

Richard Allen Ellenberger, 51, of Mountain Iron, faces felony counts of 11th offense operating while intoxicated, attempting to flee an officer, repeater possession of methamphetamine and repeater possession of marijuana. Cash bail of $10,000 was set for Ellenberger, who remained in custody in the Douglas County Jail on Thursday, April 25.

According to the criminal complaint, on April 10, Superior Police Officer Patrick Deignan observed a vehicle traveling on North Eighth Street fail to stop for a stop sign and nearly cause an accident when turning onto Hammond Avenue. The driver and sole occupant stopped in the parking lane and waved at the officer to pass.

When Deignan turned on his emergency lights for a traffic stop, the vehicle swerved back onto Hammond Avenue and accelerated. It turned onto North Seventh Street and nearly rear-ended a truck as it increased its speed.

The vehicle turned onto Cumming Avenue — a dead end road — and stopped. The driver, later identified as Ellenberger, climbed over to the passenger door and got out. He would not follow commands, but Deignan was able to detain him.

A glass smoking pipe and bags that contained methamphetamine and marijuana were found in Ellenberger's pockets. Deignan felt the Mountain Iron man may be under the influence of methamphetamine due to his actions, and he exhibited signs of impairment on a field sobriety test. Ellenberger reportedly admitted to smoking methamphetamine.

Ellenberger has 10 prior operating while intoxicated convictions from Minnesota, the most recent in 2011. His next court appearance was set for May 31.

The most serious charge, operating while intoxicated, carries a maximum penalty of 15 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.