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Man who fled sheriff's deputy on gravel roads in rural Bird Island, Minnesota, sentenced to prison

Codi James Truelove, 31, recently of Bird Island, was sentenced in Renville County District Court to a 17-month prison term for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle in January 2021. Truelove was already serving a 17-month prison sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud in an unrelated case. The sentences will be served concurrently.

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OLIVIA — A man who fled a Renville County sheriff's deputy last year in a high-speed chase on gravel roads in rural Bird Island was recently sentenced to 17 months in prison.

Codi James Truelove, 31, recently of Bird Island, had already begun serving a 17-month prison sentence for receiving stolen property in Watonwan County when he was transported for the Sept. 19 sentencing in Renville County District Court.

Judge Laurence Stratton sentenced Truelove on a single felony count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. Truelove was given credit for 158 days already served. The sentence will be concurrent with the other from Watonwan County.

Codi James Truelove Mug.jfif
Codi James Truelove
Contributed: Minnesota Department of Corrections

Under Minnesota state law offenders have to serve two-thirds of their sentence in custody before being eligible for supervised release.

According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections website, Truelove was incarcerated Aug. 9 at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud. His expected release date is April 4, 2024.

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Two other Renville County charges were dismissed in a plea agreement: driving after a driver's license cancellation — a gross misdemeanor — and a misdemeanor open bottle law violation.

According to the criminal complaint, a Renville County sheriff's deputy was on patrol Jan. 27, 2021, in Bird Island when he saw two vehicles he recognized in a parking lot. One of the drivers was suspected of having a revoked license. The deputy verified the woman's license status but was not able to follow the vehicles immediately when they left the lot.

According to the complaint, the deputy suspected both vehicles were using gravel roads to get to the woman's residence. When the deputy saw the vehicles again, one of them was being driven by Truelove, who failed to stop at a stop sign and drove through the intersection of 410th Street and Renville County Road 4.

According to the complaint, the vehicle accelerated to speeds between 80 to 90 miles per hour. The deputy turned on his lights to attempt a traffic stop, but the SUV failed to stop.

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The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.
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"I get angry when I think of how (Jesse) Powell hunts for his victims, under the guise of helping us, and how he kept getting away with it," one of the victims said.

According to the complaint, the deputy pursued the vehicle for approximately eight miles at excessive speeds for gravel roads.

The deputy watched the vehicle brake, turn off through a ditch and stop at a farm site behind a large shed. According to the complaint, the deputy watched Truelove exit the vehicle while it was still running.

The passenger in the vehicle was the woman the deputy initially suspected of driving on a canceled license.

Truelove then identified himself verbally to the deputy and admitted he had warrants for his arrest, according to the complaint. Truelove also admitted that he knew his driver’s license was canceled and that he didn’t want another driving offense.

Dale Morin is a reporter with the West Central Tribune. He covers public safety and breaking news beats.

Dale can be reached at dmorin@wctrib.com or by phone 320-214-4368.
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