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Blue pleads guilty to charges in connection to theft of Good Samaritan's car

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Wendell Rodney Blue, the suspect accused of stealing and subsequently rolling a Good Samaritan's car earlier this year, has pleaded guilty to charges associated with the incident.

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Blue, 36, of Redby, has pleaded guilty to felony theft of a motor vehicle; gross misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to testing; and misdemeanor failing to stop following an accident involving injury or death. Blue entered his plea April 8 in Beltrami County District Court in front of Judge Shari Schluchter.

His next court date is May 12.

Blue was a passenger in a Chevrolet Lumina that crashed and rolled on U.S. Highway 2 shortly after 1 a.m. Jan. 29. A pair of Good Samaritans stopped at the scene to provide medical assistance to another passenger in the vehicle who had been partially ejected in the crash. While they were providing first aid, Blue stole the Mitsubishi Eclipse in which they had been traveling.

He then rolled the Eclipse about one mile from the original crash scene.

A Minnesota State Patrol trooper responded to the second scene where he found an empty Eclipse upside down on its hood. He followed footprints that began at the scene and went along the westbound roadway and found a man, later identified as Blue, walking through the south ditch in front of the Wilton Liquor Store. Blue was covered with snow and had cuts and scrapes on his back and back side. He told the trooper he had fallen down, but the trooper reported that his injuries were inconsistent with a fall.

The trooper noted that Blue appeared intoxicated and noted a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech and bloodshot, watery eyes. Blue also needed assistance walking around the squad car. He refused to identify himself and also refused to submit to a breath test at the jail, saying that "I did nothing."

In an interview with police Jan. 29, Blue said he had been the front-seat passenger in the original crash vehicle and had fled the scene in order to use a phone. He said was very intoxicated at the time and did not remember much. He said he remembered leaving the primary accident scene on foot, not in another vehicle. When told that the arresting trooper had followed his footprints from the second accident site to where he was found near Wilton Liquor Store, Blue said he didn't remember anything about a second crash and asked to return to his cell.

Blue's license was determined to be suspended; he previously was convicted of DWI in 1996. He was on probation for a fifth-degree controlled substance crime conviction.

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Bethany Wesley
(218) 333-9200 x337
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