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Johnston pleads guilty to felony eluding, assault on officer

By Bob Steenson,

A Minnesota man originally charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors after a chase that resulted in an injury to a Charles City police officer, has pleaded guilty to one felony and three misdemeanor charges.

Bryant Scott Johnston, age 32, of North St. Paul, Minnesota, allegedly tried to run from officials after a Floyd County sheriff’s deputy attempted to pull him over for a traffic violation on Feb. 28, according to court records.

A high-speed pursuit that started on Highway 14 entered Charles City where it continued at speeds up to 56 mph, including through 20 mph zones, the report said.

Johnston pleads guilty to felony eluding, assault on officer
Bryant Johnston

Johnston’s vehicle struck a police squad car near North Jackson and Kane streets, and officers attempted to break the windows in his vehicle to take him into custody.

One officer ended up being dragged by the vehicle when Johnston continued driving, resulting in a cut to his hand that required stitches, reports said. Court records identified the officer as Dario Gamino.

Johnston was apprehended by sheriff’s deputies after his vehicle got stuck in a snowbank.

He was charged with eluding or attempting to elude while operating while intoxicated or controlled substance violation or causing injury, a Class D felony; interference with official acts resulting in serious injury, a Class D felony; operating while intoxicated, first offense, a serious misdemeanor; and possession of marijuana, first offense; a serious misdemeanor.

Last week, Johnston pleaded guilty in Floyd County District Court to felony eluding; to the reduced charge of assault on persons engaged in certain occupations, an aggravated misdemeanor; OWI first offense and possession first offense. The pleas were accepted by the court

As part of the plea agreement, the Floyd County Attorney’s Office will recommend suspended sentences of up to five years in prison on the eluding charge, up to two years suspended on the assault charge, and two days in jail each with credit for time served on the OWI and possession charges.

The recommendation includes a $1,250 fine and 35% state surcharge on the OWI charge, and that Johnston lose his driver’s license, go through a substance abuse evaluation and attend drinking driving school.

The county attorney will also recommend that various other fines and surcharges be suspended, that Johnston be placed on three to five years probation and be placed at BeJe Clark Residential Facility in Mason City.

Sentencing has been set for June 11 in Floyd County District Court.