WILLMAR -- The Spicer woman whose vehicle ended up in a pond this week made her first court appearance Thursday on related charges.
Lorraine Kay Curtiss, 54, of Spicer, appeared on charges stemming from a Tuesday incident that allegedly involved fleeing from a State Patrol trooper, nearly striking schoolchildren with her car and then recklessly driving the vehicle into a pond.
Curtiss faces a felony for fleeing in a motor vehicle, plus lesser charges of reckless driving, uninsured vehicle and speeding. During her appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court, unconditional bail was set at $10,000. Her next appearance is Nov. 1.
According to the complaint, the trooper was on patrol just before 4 p.m. Tuesday along state Highway 23 and observed a vehicle going 69 mph in a 55-mph zone. The officer stopped the car near 72nd Street and 153rd Avenue Northeast.
The driver, Curtiss, claimed she was going fast to get to the hospital to pick up a relative. She said she didn't have insurance on the car, and the trooper then gave her the option of driving the vehicle to a nearby church parking lot and parking it there.
The trooper offered to give her a ride home.
Instead of parking in the lot, Curtiss allegedly accelerated past the lot and on down the road.
A school bus, with red lights on, the stop arm out and children crossing the street, was nearby. Curtiss slowed her vehicle and the trooper parked her squad car between Curtiss and the bus, so she could no longer move toward the bus and the children. Curtiss backed her vehicle into the squad car and fled eastbound on 153rd Avenue, at speeds of up to 70 mph. She attempted to turn onto Highway 23, narrowly avoided a collision with other motorists and then went into the ditch and a drainage pond at the intersection of Highway 23 and Olde Mill Road.
The trooper and a citizen rescued Curtiss from the sinking car. She was treated and released at Paynesville Hospital and then arrested and taken to the Kandiyohi County Jail.