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Minnesota man gets probation after chase that injured officer

By Bob Steenson,

A Minnesota man who earlier pleaded guilty to reduced charges after a traffic chase where a Charles City Police officer was injured, has been sentenced to probation but is being held in jail until a position opens at a residential facility.

Bryant Scott Johnson, age 33, of North St. Paul, Minnesota, was charged with trying 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.

Minnesota man gets probation after chase that injured 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 Johnson continued driving, resulting in a cut to his hand that required stitches, reports said.

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.

In April, 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.

District Court Judge Peter Newell issued sentencing Wednesday in Floyd County District Court.

Newell followed the sentencing recommendations of the Floud County Attorney’s Office, for 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 sentence includes a $1,250 fine and 35% state surcharge on the OWI charge as well as other fees and costs, and orders that Johnston go through a substance abuse evaluation and attend drinking driving school.

He was sentenced to three to five years of probation on the eluding charge and two years probation on the assault charge, but the sentence also says that Johnston shall remain in custody until a position opens at BeJe Clark Residential Facility in Mason City or a similar facility, where he is ordered to remain for 180 days “or until maximum benefits are achieved” as determined by the Department of Correctional Services.

He was still being held in the Floyd County Jail as of Thursday evening.

Also as part of the plea agreement, 29 traffic charges connected with the chase were dismissed, with costs assessed to Johnston.

Those citations included 23 charges of failure to obey a stop sign or other traffic control device, driving on the wrong side of the highway, a turn signal violation, rear light violation, failure to prove financial responsibility, failure to maintain control and careless driving.

A charge of possession of drug paraphernalia was also dismissed.