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Fleeing cops, DWI charges after weekend incident

WILLMAR -- Petrolino Molina, 27, of Willmar, made his first court appearance Monday on a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a vehicle and a gross misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired for fleeing Willmar police officers early Saturday morning.

Molina was arrested at his home along 15th Avenue. He had driven and then ran there during the pursuit. The criminal complaint says officers followed him into the home and discovered him lying in bed with snow still on his shoes.

Unconditional bail was set at $90,000. His next appearance is Dec. 20 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

According to the complaint, officers were called around 12:25 a.m. to a southwest Willmar residence on a report that Molina had violated a domestic abuse no-contact order by attempting to contact a woman. The woman wasn't there, but another woman had called law enforcement because Molina had entered the residence and refused to leave until she called the cops.

Another responding officer saw a pickup truck driving toward his squad car in the parking lot, and the pickup narrowly avoided striking the squad car before spinning and sliding away on the snow. The pursuit continued onto 15th Avenue, where Molina allegedly ran on foot after the pickup got stuck in a snow bank.

Officers chased him into the house and entered to find him lying in bed. He was arrested and told to get his shoes, which still had snow on them. He was taken to jail, where he refused to submit to alcohol testing. The complaint notes that he was convicted of driving while impaired in 2003 and that the no-contact order was issued Nov. 8 in Watonwan County and excluded him from contact with the woman or her Willmar address. Molina also faces felony charges in Kandiyohi County District Court of fifth-degree drug possession and for storing methamphetamine paraphernalia in the presence of a child, plus gross misdemeanor charges for child endangerment and possession of a pistol or assault weapon by a user of a controlled substance. Those charges were filed after Oct. 20, when a search warrant was served on Molina's home.

He and two children, ages 4 and 3, were found in the home. Molina allegedly admitted there were meth pipes in the basement, which were located very near children's toys.

The search also revealed plastic bags containing marijuana and meth residue, a notebook with an owe/pay sheet and a surveillance camera.

Officers also searched a pickup parked in the driveway and located a loaded .22-caliber pistol in the console of the vehicle. The vehicle was registered to Molina.

Molina was arrested and allegedly told officers he sells meth to two or three people per day while his girlfriend is at work, that she's not aware of the sales and that he does it to make money to pay the bills. He claimed ownership of the pickup and the gun, which he said he bought for $100 out of state for protection about a year ago.

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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