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Man faces two felonies for Willmar golf course crash

WILLMAR — The man accused of leading Willmar police on a high-speed chase that ended with a crash at the local golf course faces two felonies in the matter.

J. Jesus Navarez Gomez Jr., 29, appeared Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar.

He is alleged to have fled police, resulting in a nearly mile-long chase earlier this month through a residential area of town, ending with him crashing a vehicle through a fence and into golf carts at Valley Golf Course.

The crash injured a passenger in his car.

Gomez is charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and criminal vehicular operation for driving while under the influence of alcohol that resulted in an injury.

He is also charged with two misdemeanors, including driving while impaired.

He had been appointed a public defender at a previous court appearance.

Gomez was arrested after the July 11 crash that caused a head injury to his passenger, Scott Allen Minette, 42, of Sauk Centre.

According to court records, employees of the SuperAmerica store in Willmar called police at 1:47 a.m. to report that an intoxicated Gomez was driving away, despite their efforts to prevent him from leaving the store and getting back into the vehicle.

As a police squad car followed Gomez down Becker Avenue Southeast, he accelerated to speeds of 100 mph, according to the report.

The police officer had reached a speed of 80 mph before determining it was unsafe and slowed down.

Gomez, however, kept driving at a high rate of speed and eventually went over a berm, “barreled through a wooden fence” at Valley Golf Course and crashed into golf carts on the other side of a small hill and fence, according to the complaint.

Debris from the crash was 100 feet away from the site of impact.

Both Gomez and Minette were treated for injuries at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

The next court appearance for Gomez is set for Oct. 9.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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