Man pleads guilty to role in chase
An Austin man accused of leading police on a low-speed chase earlier this month while on an all-terrain vehicle pleaded guilty to several criminal counts Thursday.
James Terrance Cooley, 41, pleaded guilty to interfering with a 911 call, a gross misdemeanor, as well as driving under the influence and obstructing the legal process, both misdemeanors. As part of the plea agreement, a felony-level fleeing from police in a motor vehicle charge will be dismissed.
Cooley awaits sentencing in Mower County court on July 2.
The incident in question occurred April 5. According to a criminal complaint, police were called at around 6 p.m. by a person reporting domestic abuse, but Cooley allegedly disconnected the phone before the person finished.
Realizing the call had gone through to dispatch, Cooley fled the home in the 2000 block of Fifth Avenue Northeast before police arrived. However, later that evening, police were notified that Cooley had returned to the area and was chasing a van with his ATV. He allegedly smashed into the van, then took off on Oakland Avenue when he saw squad cars coming.
Cooley proceeded to head north on Highway 218 in the southbound lane, with officers in pursuit at speeds of 30 to 40 mph. From there, he turned west on Sixth Avenue Northeast and drove through a residential area, cutting through several yards in the process.
Cooley eventually stopped in the 700 block of 19th Street Northeast, exiting the ATV and yelling at officers. One officer had to subdue him with a Taser and handcuffed him, a police report states. Cooley was then transported to jail.
While on the way to jail, he told officers that he had smoked marijuana and used Adderall earlier that evening. He also said he was playing “chicken” with the officers on Highway 218, as he almost hit a squad car.
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