Times photo by Kimm Anderson, email@example.com
ST. CLOUD, Minn. - A Cokato man who was accused of leading sheriff's deputies on a 23-mile chase that damaged several squad cars was ordered held in lieu of $150,000 bail Monday after being charged with a felony and two misdemeanors.
James Kelly Benson, 29, is charged in Stearns County District Court with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, a felony, and misdemeanor charges of driving after revocation and failing to stop for an accident.
He is accused of fleeing from a Stearns County deputy who tried to stop the Jaguar he was driving on County Road 7 in Fairhaven Township. Speeds during the ensuing chase reached near 100 mph, and deputies tried twice to disable the vehicle by placing spikes, called stop sticks, in the road but Benson swerved around them both times.
Deputies tried four times to ram the vehicle Benson was driving in an attempt to stop the chase. They were finally successful in their fourth attempt, which was on the exit ramp from northbound Minnesota Highway 15 to Benton Drive in Sauk Rapids.
There were no injuries reported in the chase and crash. The complaint charging Benson accuses him of trying to ram the squad cars that were boxing him in on the off-ramp.
The chase spanned 23 miles, lasted about 25 minutes and went through parts of Stearns and Benton counties and the cities of St. Cloud, Sartell and Sauk Rapids. Some of the chase went on heavily traveled streets in the heart of St. Cloud at mid morning.
Benson had outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest.
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