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Chase ends in charges for Willmar man, stolen pickup in flames

MONTEVIDEO — A 26-year-old Willmar man is being held in the Chippewa County Jail in Montevideo after allegedly leading police on a chase that ended with a stolen vehicle in flames early Thursday morning.

Daniel James Pelkey is charged with felony charges of fleeing a police officer and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He is also charged with a gross misdemeanor for refusing a chemical test and misdemeanor charges of driving after revocation and running a stop sign.

Pelkey was allegedly driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup when it was spotted around 3 a.m. Thursday in Granite Falls by an officer on patrol, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Chippewa County Attorney’s office.

The officer had run a check on the vehicle. It had been reported stolen April 23 in Lake Lillian. The officer lost sight of the vehicle, but dispatch alerted officers in the area to watch for it.

Two Montevideo police officers spotted the vehicle on U.S. Highway 212 and followed it to McKinley Avenue in Montevideo, at which point the officers activated their lights.

The vehicle sped off at a high rate of speed and a pursuit followed. The defendant allegedly continued on Canyon Avenue and went north of Fifth Street South, and failed to stop for a stop sign at the intersection with Minnesota Trunk Highway 7, where the pickup almost T-boned a vehicle.

The suspect picked jumped the curb and went north on Ashmore Avenue to Benson Road, and continued out of town.

The pursuit continued through a field, back onto rural roads, and into a field in the middle of Havelock Township. The truck stopped there, stuck in the field due to two flat tires.

The driver and two suspects jumped out of the pickup. With a gun drawn, one of the Montevideo police officers ordered the three to get down on the ground and show their hands.

The officer saw that the pickup was on fire, and with another officer’s help had the three moved to a safe distance and handcuffed. The Maynard Fire Department was called but the truck was soon engulfed in flames.

Pelkey was staggering and showed signs of impairment, leading officers to believe he was under the influence of a controlled substance. The complaint charges that he refused to submit to an implied consent test and shouted obscenities in response to questions from officers, according to the complaint.

The defendant has a previous conviction for driving under the influence of a controlled substance. He also has convictions for thefts in Renville and Kandiyohi Counties, according to court records.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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