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Man sentenced in crash after chase

Christopher Ray Garcia, the 20-year-old Bemidji man who crashed his vehicle into an observation point along the Lake Shore Trail while fleeing police, was sentenced Monday in Beltrami County Court.

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Garcia

Christopher Ray Garcia, the 20-year-old Bemidji man who crashed his vehicle into an observation point along the Lake Shore Trail while fleeing police, was sentenced Monday in Beltrami County Court.

Garcia, formerly of Lubbock, Texas, pleaded guilty Feb. 6 to felony charges of driving a motor vehicle without the owner's consent and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, and gross misdemeanor third-degree DWI.

District Judge John G. Melbye ordered Garcia to obtain a GED, submit to random searches, pay restitution, serve 65 days in jail, stayed for four years, with 65 days credited for time served, five years of supervised probation and pay a total of $2,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint:

At 10:25 p.m. Jan. 8, Bemidji police officers responded to a report of a black Chevrolet Cavalier taken without permission from the 500 block of Mississippi Avenue Northwest.

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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.

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.

Garcia was eventually transported to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, where he submitted a urine sample.

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A Jan. 31 report from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension showed Garcia had a blood alcohol concentration of .20.

Related Topics: CRIME
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