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Willmar man charged after failing to exit vehicle for officer with rifle

WILLMAR — A Willmar man who, according to court documents, sped his Jeep toward a police car and refused to leave his vehicle even after the officer pointed a rifle at him is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $20,000 bail.

Bret Michael Arndt, 25, is charged with a felony count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and two gross misdemeanor charges of driving while impaired.

According to the criminal complaint, a Willmar police officer used his squad car and traffic cones to set up a traffic barrier around 1:30 a.m. Saturday on Becker Avenue and Fourth Street Southeast while other officers were dealing with a suicidal male barricaded in a nearby house.

The officer heard a vehicle accelerating and saw a Jeep Grand Cherokee go through a stop sign, fishtail and drive toward the officer, who was waving his arms to indicate a roadblock was in place.

The Jeep continued to accelerate and the officer stopped waving his arms and pointed his rifle at the vehicle and activated the weapon light on the rifle, according to the complaint.

Despite the officer turning the weapon light on and off numerous times and yelling at the driver to stop, the vehicle continued to speed toward the officer.

When the Jeep was about 15 yards away, Arndt slammed on the brakes and the vehicle came to a complete stop about five yards away from the squad car, the complaint states.

Even though the officer kept his rifle pointed at the vehicle, banged on the hood of the Jeep and ordered him to come out, Arndt began driving again while the officer was standing in front of the vehicle, according to the complaint.

The officer walked backward as the vehicle pushed him in that direction and eventually stepped aside as the Jeep continued down the road.

Arndt continued to drive away and was later stopped by another officer.

When asked why he didn't stop earlier, Arndt said he had seen the first police officer but didn't hear what he was telling him to do and that he "just wanted to get home," the complaint states.

Arndt failed several field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.28 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

His next court appearance is Oct. 25.

Carolyn Lange

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

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