WILLMAR -- A 35-year-old Atwater man made his first court appearance Friday on charges of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and driving while impaired for allegedly running from the law at speeds over 100 mph early Thursday morning.
Steven Bruce Wothe faces the felony fleeing charge, two counts of gross misdemeanor driving while impaired and a misdemeanor careless driving charge in Kandiyohi County District Court. Unconditional bail was set at $25,000 with conditional bail allowed for $500. His next appearance is Sept. 28.
According to the complaint, a Kandiyohi County deputy was on patrol around 1:30 a.m. Thursday and was westbound on U.S. Highway 12 near County Road 4.
He observed two vehicles coming toward him at a high rate of speed. Radar indicated a speed of 76 mph in a 55-mph zone.
The deputy turned around, activated the lights and sirens, and pursued both vehicles.
One of the vehicles pulled over, but the other sped up to 110 mph.
The deputy also observed the vehicle driving erratically, including from shoulder to shoulder.
The vehicle slowed to 50 mph in Atwater and pulled over into the Schmidty's store lot. The driver was identified as Wothe.
He failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. At the Law Enforcement Center, a breath test showed a blood alcohol level of 0.21.