OLIVIA — A 32-year-old Fairfax man made his first court appearance Friday on charges related to a pursuit that resulted in his allegedly ramming two squad cars.
Mark Ronald Wendlandt faces felony charges of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. He also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired and a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving.
He is currently in the Renville County Jail with bail of $100,000 with no conditions and $50,000 with conditions. He was granted a public defender at the hearing in Renville County District Court.
According to court records, a Fairfax police officer had been asked to do a welfare check on Wendlandt on Jan. 9. The officer arrived at the address to see Wendlandt backing out of the garage and driving erratically through the yard.
The criminal complaint describes the chase that followed. Wendlandt's vehicle allegedly headed east on state Highway 19 and did not stop when the Fairfax officer activated his emergency lights. The chase continued at speeds around 90 mph into Sibley County and into Gibbon where he allegedly tried to ram a Gibbon Police Department squad car. The pursuit headed west back to Renville County, now including squads from Renville County and Gibbon.
A Renville County deputy deployed Stop Sticks in Fairfax. When the Stop Sticks punctured his tires, Wendlandt continued driving, eventually ramming a Renville County Sheriff's squad and pushing it into another squad car.
The Fairfax officer pulled his weapon and ordered Wendlandt out of the car. Wendlandt allegedly used his fingers to pantomime a gun and yelled obscenities before he left the car and was arrested.
Under questioning, he allegedly admitted he had used meth earlier in the day but said he had not tried to ram squad cars.