Chase suspect pleads not guilty; Rodriguez facing weapon, fleeing felony charges

Published 2:05 pm Thursday, May 5, 2016

The man who led Austin police officers on a high-speed chase on April 20 pleaded not guilty on Thursday in Mower County District Court.

 Edgar Fernando Rodriguez

Edgar Fernando Rodriguez

Edgar Fernando Rodriguez, 25, of Austin is facing charges of felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle.

At about 8:10 p.m. on April 20, dispatch received a 911 call from a citizen who reported bad driving by a male in a silver car, according to court records.

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The person said he confronted the driver and thought the driver was under the influence. The person added Rodriguez was being belligerent toward him.

He told police Rodriguez was walking toward a residence in the 2000 block of Fourth Avenue Northeast. Officers responded to the area, but in the 1900 block of Oakland Avenue East, an officer clocked a gray vehicle, later identified to be a silver Mercedes sedan, driving at about 72 mph in a 30 mph zone.

The officer pursued the Mercedes through residential streets. Another Austin police officer and Mower County Deputy Sheriff joined the pursuit, which lasted three minutes with speeds well above the posted speed limit, according to court records.

The pursuit continued eastbound on Fifth Avenue Northeast until the vehicle stopped at the intersection of 19th Street and Fifth Avenue Northeast.

As the first officer was getting out of his squad car, the Mercedes backed up and rammed two squad cars. Then, Officer Adam Scott fired at the vehicle, but it took off southbound on 19th Street Northeast. The other officer followed the Mercedes, which drove one block before turning eastbound.

Officers apprehended Rodriguez and found a BB/pellet gun on him.

Rodriguez sustained an injury to his left hand, believed to be cause by a gun shot. He was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin and later by ambulance to St. Marys in Rochester. He was later released to the Mower County Jail.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the incident.

His pre-trial is scheduled for Sept. 16 and the jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 26.