Duluth man faces three charges in 35-mile Hermantown chase
A 57-year-old Duluth man weaved in and out of oncoming traffic and swerved "intentionally close" to stopped cars during a 35-mile police pursuit through Hermantown, telling officers afterward that "at least we had fun for a while."...
A 57-year-old Duluth man weaved in and out of oncoming traffic and swerved "intentionally close" to stopped cars during a 35-mile police pursuit through Hermantown, telling officers afterward that "at least we had fun for a while."
That is according to a criminal complaint charging Thomas Augustus Haines with three crimes in connection with the Sunday afternoon incident.
Haines was arraigned Wednesday in State District Court in Duluth on a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree driving while impaired and reckless driving.
Police suspected Haines of being under the influence of a controlled substance and later seized eight pills that were believed to be hydrocodone, a Schedule II drug, according to the complaint.
According to police and court documents:
Hermantown police Sgt. William Marsolek was working an overtime shift when he observed Haines' 2016 Ford Focus approaching to the rear at a high rate of speed along Lavaque Road just before 4 p.m.
Marsolek noted that the car was "rapidly twittering left and right" and eventually passed him at a speed well above the posted limit. The sergeant activated his emergency lights and sirens, but the driver fled, leading him on a chase at speeds upward of 100 mph.
Over the course of the 20-minute pursuit, police said Haines alternated between lanes of traffic, appeared to intentionally swerve at drivers who had pulled over, and at one point drove through a ditch to pass other vehicles.
The pursuit ended along U.S. Highway 2 when Marsolek rammed the suspect's vehicle in a precision immobilization technique, or PIT maneuver. Haines fled on foot, but was arrested after a brief scuffle that included the use of a Taser.
Officers reported that Haines appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, to which the defendant responded by stating that he had smoked some marijuana.
"I smoked a little weed today and had a little fun with you guys," he allegedly added.
A search of his body turned up the eight pills, which police identified as hydrocodone. A search warrant was later authorized to obtain a blood-draw, the results of which were not immediately available.
Judge Theresa Neo set Haines' bail at $30,000. He remained in the St. Louis County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.
A check of court records reveals only minor offenses on Haines' record, for disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process.
He is due back in court on July 27.