July 4 car chase lands Farmington man in jail

Man charged with two felonies

A Farmington man is facing criminal charges after an early morning car chase through Lakeville on July 4.A Farmington man is facing criminal charges after an early morning car chase through Lakeville on July 4.

Eric Ryan Thelen, 28, allegedly fled a Lakeville police officer at around 2 a.m. when he drove through a stop sign at 210 Street and Holyoke Avenue.

The officer did a U-turn and followed Thelen, intending to conduct a traffic stop according to the July 11 Dakota County criminal complaint.

Thelen allegedly made a series of turns, speeding between them then ended up at the same intersection, again drove past the stop sign and turned westbound onto 210 Street.

Police reportedly pursued Thelen with lights and siren blaring and the chase was on, with speeds reaching 80-90 mph in an area where the speed limit was 35-50 mph.

The complaint said Thelen drove through severl stops where other drivers were and illegally passed another vehicle, almost losing control of the vehicle before jumping a curb at a cul-de-sac and driving down an embankment into a farm field.

Unfamiliar with the field, the officer reported not following the vehicle into the field.

Thelen allegedly drove back onto a road where a second police squad joined the pursuit, then Thelen made a last-minute turn into the Lakeville Holiday Inn Parking lot and both squads attempted to block the entrances.

Thelen drove into one squad then came directly at the other one, veering at the last minute in a reported attempt to jump the curbed landscaped area but got stuck on a boulder.

The complaint said Thelen continued to press the gas pedal, spinning the front tire, but eventually the officers said they got Thelen out of the vehicle.

Officers reported Thelen smelled of alcohol and his preliminary breath test read .124. He was arrested and allegedly tested again at a reading of .14.

Damages to the squad, farmer’s field and Holiday Inn have yet to be totaled, but the complaint said are estimated to exceed $1,000.

Thelen is charged with fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and first-degree criminal property damage, both felonies.

He also is charged with 4th degree driving while impaired (under the influence of alcohol) and 4th degree driving while impaired (.08 ore more), both misdemeanors.