Courts

Brief car chase leads to Lake Elmo man’s conviction

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

A Lake Elmo man was convicted in Washington County District Court for fleeing a police officer in September.

According to the complaint, Mark Patterson Wahl, 57, was westbound on Minnesota 36 when a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy observed Wahl driving 19 mph over the speed limit.

The deputy turned on his lights and attempted to pull Wahl over. Wahl, however, continued driving and turned from Minnesota 36 onto Lake Elmo Avenue North. A second deputy joined the pursuit when Wahl showed no signs of slowing down. At one point, one of the deputies drove alongside of Wahl to guide him to pull over, however Wahl continued driving.

Wahl finally pulled into his driveway on 47th Street. The pursuit lasted about four minutes and covered two miles.

When Wahl got out of his car he appeared intoxicated with bloodshot eyes, poor balance and strong smell of alcohol. Deputies also discovered that Wahl was driving with a restricted driver’s license that states any use of alcohol or drug use would invalidate his license.

Wahl failed several sobriety tests and took a preliminary breath test that showed a .284 blood alcohol level.

Wahl faced five charges, including fleeing a peace officer, driving with a restricted license, operating two driving while intoxicated and a traffic violation. He was only convicted for fleeing a peace officer. His sentence includes serving three days in Washington County Jail with credit for time served, abstaining from mood-altering chemicals, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week for a year and having no similar offenses.

For the misdemeanor DWI charge, the court sentenced Wahl to 90 days in jail with 87 days suspended for two years if he meets the following conditions, probation with Washington County Community Corrections for two years, attend MADD Victim Impact Panel, and pay a $50 fine among other stipulations.

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