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Blackduck man charged with felony fleeing, drug crimes

Anthony Troy Gabrelcik, 19, of Blackduck, was charged Wednesday in Itasca County District Court with two felony counts of fifth-degree controlled substance crime and one felony count of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle.

He was also charged with six misdemeanors: fourth-degree driving while impaired; reckless driving; open bottle; minor in possession of alcohol; fleeing a peace officer on foot; and possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Gabrelcik made a court appearance Monday, but the case was continued until May 26. Meanwhile, he is in custody in the Itasca County Jail.

According to the criminal complaint, at 2:50 p.m. March 3, an Itasca County deputy was trying to catch up with a vehicle traveling south at 90 mph in a 55 mph zone on state Highway 46 south of Squaw Lake. The deputy notified another deputy, who joined the chase on County Road 39, the complaint states.

The fleeing driver upped the speed to 100 mph, traveling in the middle of the road and causing other vehicles to pull over to the shoulder to avoid collision, according to the complaint.

During the pursuit, according to the complaint, the deputy saw the driver throw a laptop computer case out of the vehicle along. The chase continued east on U.S. Highway 2 with the suspect vehicle entering Deer River at 70-80 mph.

As the fleeing suspect's vehicle neared the Cohasset Elementary School, the deputy used the squad car to force the vehicle off the road. At that point, the driver jumped out and fled on foot toward a residence. The deputy caught up with the suspect, Tased him and transported him to the Itasca County Jail.

At the jail, the driver was identified as Gabrelcic, who told the deputy he had smoked marijuana that day. A drug recognition expert reported that Gabrelcik showed signs of recent drug use. At about 5:30 p.m., Gabrelcik submitted a urine sample. According to the complaint, Gabrelcik said he was in Squaw Lake to sell marijuana. He said he intentionally drove erratically to get deputies' attention and get them into a chase.

A search of Gabrelcik's car turned up a small amount of marijuana and an open bottle of Captain Morgan rum. Deputies later found the laptop computer case, which contained a scale and suspected methamphetamine residue.

On Wednesday, the court set bail at $25,000 without conditions, or $10,000 with the following conditions: Gabrelcik must not consume alcohol or enter places where it is sold; not use or possess non-prescription drugs; submit to random testing with urine samples every three days at the jail; complete chemical dependency evaluation and follow recommendations; make future court appearances; keep in contact with his attorney; remain law abiding; and not drive without a valid license or insurance.

Each felony drug charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and the felony fleeing charge carries a maximum sentence of three years and one day in prison and a $5,000 fine. The misdemeanor charges each carry a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The case is being prosecuted by Itasca County Attorney John Muhar.