A Chicago man has been charged with felony drunken driving and leading police on a high-speed chase that reached speeds of more than 100 mph in St. Louis Park.
Marcus Duane Verser, 36, is charged with two felonies: first-degree DWI, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine, and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, for which the maximum penalty is three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The felony DWI charge has a mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison and a $4,200 fine.
A St. Louis Park police officer was driving onto west Interstate 394 from north Highway 100 just after 2 a.m. Dec. 6 when a car driven by Verser almost sideswiped his squad car, according to the criminal complaint, signed by Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Dan Beasley.
The officer began following Verser’s car, watching as Verser repeatedly activated his left and right turn signals and then turned them back off. The officer turned on his emergency lights in an attempt to get Verser to pull over.
Verser eventually pulled over. The officer approached his car and asked for his driver’s license; Verser turned and looked at the officer, then moved his hand to the gear shift and put the car in gear. The officer told him to put the car back into park, but Verser sped away, according to the complaint.
The officer began a pursuit that reached speeds of 100 mph and higher. Three police departments became involved in the chase, which ended when Verser crashed after running over stop sticks placed by South Lake Minnetonka police.
Verser jumped out of his car and fled on foot. Police eventually found him hiding beneath the deck of a home in the area.
Verser was given a breath test, which showed his blood-alcohol level at .185 percent, according to the complaint.
Verser’s criminal record includes three previous DWI-related convictions from 2012: in March, June and September. He has two more pending DWI cases from July and September.
Verser has been released from custody on a $100,000 bond. An omnibus hearing in his case is scheduled Jan. 11 in Hennepin County District Court.