Farmer helps apprehend suspect after chase through Minnesota potato field

- If the horses and donkeys in Marshan Township, Minnesota, could talk, they would have quite the story to tell. Their owners are thankful they were safely in a their stable Saturday when prosecutors say Paul Fischer brought a high speed chase to their pasture 

The chase started at 220th Michael Avenue after Dakota County deputies got a call about someone trying to crash a wedding reception. According to the criminal complaint, the officer had to go more than 120 mph just to catch up with Fischer.

About five miles north, the chase continued down the ditch, and the owner of a farm at 180th Street and US-61 watched in horror as it went around his house, through a couple a of fences and into the potato field, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

The owner of the farm took pictures of mutilated electric wires, bent poles and tire tracks stretching a couple hundred yards.

“This is obviously someone who has a serious issue with alcohol consumption,” says Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom.

According to the criminal complaint, the suspect at one point laid down in the crops and got back up to head north toward the tree line. Officers entered the field on foot until someone living nearby brought an ATV to help chase Fischer down as he ran through the field. Eventually, Fischer was caught and charged with fleeing a police officer, property damage, driving without a license. and now charged with his third felony level DWI.

This means he’s been convicted of drunk driving at least seven other times in the past decade.

“We try to give them every opportunity to correct their behavior... some people just can’t do it.” Backstrom said. “We have in Dakota county what’s called a Safe Streets First Program for repeat drunk drivers. They get every opportunity to get treatment. This is after third offense, before they hit felony level.”

Backstrom goes on to say “I understand addiction is a disease, it’s not easy to overcome.. but we have to keep working on it.”

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