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Drunk driver ditches SUV, leads cops on merry chase

A 22-year-old Houlton man got his vehicle stuck in a snowbank and then, with his passenger, took off running as a River Falls squad car with emergency lights approached. The driver allegedly was spinning around in the snowy university parking lot.

This was after midnight Sunday, Dec. 8, in in the 200 block of East Cascade Avenue.

The two fleeing men ran past St. Croix Gas and Jimmy John’s fast-food restaurant. Another officer responded and chased what turned out to be the driver, the Houlton man, through the Best Western hotel next to Junior’s Bar and Restaurant.

That officer reported the man sprinted through the hotel’s balcony door, jumped a railing outside, slipping on sidewalk ice, fell, bonked his head, got up and resumed sprinting.

The officer soon caught and grabbed the suspect, bringing him to the ground where he was handcuffed. The Houlton man’s speech was badly slurred.

He was taken to the police station. There he claimed the SUV he had driven into the snowbank belonged to his unidentified male passenger. A check, however, revealed the vehicle belonged to the Houlton man’s mother.

The Houlton man was also on a court-ordered no drink provision. The drunk driving citation he received violated his probation. He was taken without incident to county jail in Hudson.

Police also:

--Arrested a 23-year-old Spring Valley woman for a warrant late Friday night, Dec. 6, in the downtown alley behind Johnnies Bar.

The intoxicated woman was leaning against a light pole. She could barely talk. Someone found her discarded purse nearby and brought it to an officer. This helped to identify the woman.

The officer wanted to find her a safe ride home. Once the warrant for her name was found, she was handcuffed and driven to county jail in Ellsworth.

Along the way she allegedly yelled and swore at the officer, also kicked the cage divider with her boots. After that she fell asleep.

At the jail she failed booking and was placed immediately in a holding cell.

For more, please see the Dec. 12 print edition of the River Falls Journal.