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Skaife appears in court for fleeing officers at 100 mph, drug possession

WILLMAR -- A 50-year-old Benson man made his first court appearance Thursday on felony charges of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle for a Nov. 19 police pursuit near New London that had included speeds of 100 mph and driving on the wrong...

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Skaife

WILLMAR -- A 50-year-old Benson man made his first court appearance Thursday on felony charges of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle for a Nov. 19 police pursuit near New London that had included speeds of 100 mph and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Charles William Skaife also faces another felony for drug possession and gross misdemeanor charges of driving while impaired and giving a false name to a peace officer, plus lesser charges of driving after revocation, speeding and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on his personal recognizance. His next appearance is April 12 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

According to the complaint, the pursuit began around 1 a.m. Nov. 19 after a Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy stopped Skaife's vehicle for speeding along state Highway 23 between New London and Hawick. Skaife allegedly gave the deputy a false name and date of birth, appeared to be impaired by drugs or alcohol and then drove away from the deputy.

The deputy pursued as Skaife drove south toward New London, at speeds reaching 100 miles per hour. Skaife's vehicle went into the median after the deputy used a pursuit intervention technique to push the vehicle, but Skaife drove back on the roadway and northbound on Highway 23 in the southbound lanes. The pursuit ended when the officer used another maneuver to push Skaife's van, which rolled into the ditch.

Because he was injured, Skaife was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital by ambulance and then transferred to St. Cloud Hospital. Because of the transfer, the deputy was unable to perform the implied consent advisory required for driving while impaired charges. A State Patrol trooper then was sent to St. Cloud Hospital, where Skaife refused testing and said he wanted to contact an attorney.

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The vehicle was impounded by the Sheriff's Office and a later search revealed a meth pipe.

On Dec. 2, the Sheriff's Office was contacted by the towing company, who had found a package of white substance while cleaning out the vehicle. The substance was tested and found to be 1 gram of cocaine.

This isn't Skaife's first run from the law. He was convicted of fleeing a peace officer in September in Swift County District Court and sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, which was stayed, five years of probation and a $500 fine for fleeing officers attempting to stop him a year before the current incident.

According to Tribune archives, Benson police had responded to a Nov. 14 incident at Swenson Motors in Benson where Skaife attempted to use his vehicle to harm a salesman at the local automobile dealership.

On Nov. 19, a Benson officer spotted Skaife's vehicle, knew there was a warrant for his arrest and pursued Skaife, who fled at speeds of 70 to 90 mph for 20 miles on state Highway 29 north of Benson. The pursuit ended as the cars neared Starbuck when the officer discontinued the chase.

Skaife was later arrested in Minneapolis. The second-degree assault and disorderly conduct charges from the car lot incident were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

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