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Man charged in crash after chase

Christopher Ray Garcia

The 20-year-old man who went to the emergency room early Sunday after crashing his vehicle into an observation point along the Lake Shore Trail while fleeing from officers appeared in court Tuesday.

Christopher Ray Garcia of Lubbock, Texas, was charged with driving a motor vehicle without owner's consent and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

Judge John Melbye set bail in the amount of $20,000. Garcia's next court appearance is Tuesday. He remains in Beltrami County Jail.

According to court documents:

At 10:25 p.m. Sunday, Bemidji police officers responded to a report of a black Chevrolet Cavalier taken without permission from the 500 block of Mississippi Avenue Northwest.

The caller indicated Garcia had taken the vehicle.

An officer traveling northbound on Bemidji Avenue near 15th Street Northwest saw a vehicle heading southbound on Bemidji Avenue that appeared to be traveling faster than the 35 mile per hour speed limit.

The officer used a radar gun to capture the vehicle's speed at 66 miles per hour and turned the squad car around to follow the suspect. As the officer got closer to the vehicle he saw it was the black Chevrolet Cavalier that was reported stolen.

After activating emergency lights, the officer noted the vehicle continued to travel at a high rate of speed and clocked it at 80 miles per hour.

Another police officer joined in pursuit of the stolen vehicle, later known to be driven by Garcia.

Court reports state Garcia drove the vehicle into the left turn lane at Second Street Northwest, crossed over the northbound traffic lanes and drove toward the south parking lot area of the waterfront. The vehicle came to a halt when it struck a rock-faced observation point located near the Lake Bemidji boat access south of the Paul and Babe statues.

The officers reported seeing Garcia crawl out of the passenger door and onto the ground between the vehicle and the rock.

An ambulance then arrived and Garcia was transported to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.

Garcia later submitted to a urine test. Garcia's record showed his license is valid and he has no prior qualified driving incidents.