Suspect charged in high-speed chase in Swift County

Body: 

BENSON — A suspect from Benson is facing multiple criminal charges, including three felony counts, stemming from a high-speed chase Saturday night through Swift County that ended with the man being shocked twice with a Taser by the Benson chief of police before being taken into custody.

Trenton Allen Lustfield, 29, made his first appearance Monday in Swift County District Court. He is charged with three felonies: fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. He also is charged with reckless driving and obstructing the legal process, both gross misdemeanors, and one misdemeanor count of speeding.

The chase began at around 9:44 p.m. Saturday in Benson and accelerated as Lustfield reportedly went through at least two stop signs and north on Minnesota Highway 29, pursued by officers from the Benson Police Department and the Swift County Sheriff's Office.

According to the criminal complaint, Lustfield alternately braked and sped up to 100 mph, at times throwing objects out of the sunroof of his car.

At Swift County Road 26, he turned east, leading the chase through Swift Falls, then south on County Road 31 to DeGraff, allegedly speeding through stop signs along the way and evading a set of spike strips placed outside Swift Falls by a Pope County sheriff's deputy.

From DeGraff, the pursuit turned west on U.S. Highway 12, with Lustfield allegedly driving down the centerline at times. As the chase approached Benson, Swift County Sheriff John Holtz called off the pursuit, citing public safety concerns.

Not long after, at around 10:30 p.m., law enforcement received a report of a car crashing into a garage on the north side of Benson and the occupant running away on foot toward a nearby park.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were searching for the suspect by then, and he was soon spotted back in his vehicle, whipping doughnuts in the middle of the intersection at 14th Street and Atlantic Avenue, according to the criminal complaint.

As the pursuit resumed, Lustfield sped off, at one point crossing the street and striking a parked car. He then drove through a parking lot, narrowly missing collisions with two squad cars, the complaint said.

Law enforcement managed to execute a pursuit intervention technique maneuver that sent the vehicle spinning sideways into a residential yard. Lustfield allegedly then drove through two yards, back onto the street and through the intersection of 17th Street North and Atlantic Avenue before rolling his vehicle over onto the railroad tracks south of the intersection.

According to the criminal complaint, he continued to resist efforts to get him out of his vehicle and did not submit to being handcuffed until Benson Police Chief Ian Hodge wielded a Taser stun gun on him twice.

Court records said Lustfield was brought to the Swift County Benson Hospital, where he reportedly threatened to bite staff who were evaluating and treating him.

During his court appearance Monday, he was granted a request to be represented by a public defender. Bail was set at $200,000 unconditionally and $150,000 with conditions.

Conditions include not using mood-altering chemicals, not using or possessing alcohol or controlled substances and he must submit to random testing.

His next court date is an omnibus hearing Oct. 2.