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Atwater man pleads guilty to impaired driving and fleeing cop

WILLMAR -- A 35-year-old Atwater man pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired for running from the law at speeds of more that 100 mph on Sept. 17.

As part of a plea agreement, the impaired driving charge against Steven Bruce Wothe was lowered from a gross misdemeanor and two additional charges will be dismissed in Kandiyohi County District Court. He will be sentenced Dec. 1.

The charges were filed after a Kandiyohi County deputy, on patrol around 1:30 a.m. Sept. 17 along U.S. Highway 12 near County Road 4, 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 his 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 and 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 subsequently arrested. At the Law Enforcement Center, a breath test registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.21.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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