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Man charged in Swift County after car chase turns into foot chase through bean field

Jeffrey Darren Hemmingson custody mug

BENSON—An Aug. 4 car chase that reached speeds of 110 mph became a foot chase through a bean field during which a Benson police officer drew his gun.

"I'd rather be dead than go back to prison," Jeffrey Darren Hemmingson allegedly shouted at the officer, before he took off running through the field, according to court documents.

The 45-year-old Avon man is now facing multiple charges in Swift County District Court, including felony and misdemeanor fleeing a peace officer, felony fifth-degree drug possession and misdemeanor reckless driving.

Hemmingson made his first appearance Aug. 5 in Swift County District Court.

The chase started when an officer attempted to stop Hemmingson on state Highway 9 in Benson for running a stop sign and having a revoked license, according to the criminal complaint on the charges.

Hemmingson would later tell authorities he experienced a "fight or flight" response at that moment.

Though he initially pulled his vehicle over to the side of the road, the complaint states, Hemmingson allegedly changed his mind, moved back into Highway 9, and accelerated up to 110 mph.

So the officer went after Hemmingson down the highway.

Eventually, Hemmingson turned on to County Road 35 near Sunburg, into a ditch and a bean field.

The officer exited his squad car and drew his gun, according to the criminal complaint, while Hemmingson appeared to reach for something in his car. Then, Hemmingson suddenly exited his car. He fled through the bean field, despite the officer's orders to stop, according to the criminal complaint.

As Hemmingson ran, he threw a blue handkerchief and attempted to destroy a clear plastic bag of narcotics.

A Swift County sheriff's deputy eventually arrested Hemmingson. Two small bags of methamphetamine that added up to 1.5 grams were reportedly found inside a container he carried with him.

The Willmar Police Department's K-9 search dog arrived to assist at the scene, according to Willmar Police Department records.

The dog was attracted to several areas in the field, where an officer later found numerous pieces of methamphetamine, which added up to 4 grams.

In an interview with law enforcement, Hemmingson allegedly said he had chosen to flee from the officer because he did not have a firearm to fight back with, the complaint states.

He also denied possessing any drugs.

Hemmingson is currently being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 16.