January chase suspect changes plea

Published 11:01 am Sunday, May 8, 2016

A 21-year-old who was arrested in January for fleeing police changed his plea on Friday in Mower County Court.

Ezra Robert Hardy of Austin pleaded guilty to felony fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and misdemeanor fourth-degree DWI. He was also facing charges of misdemeanor driving after suspension and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

In two other cases, he was convicted of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault and theft of motor fuel from a retailer, for which he received 90 days in Mower County Jail for both cases.

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Police arrested Hardy after a routine traffic stop for a driving violation which led to a brief pursuit.

The incident started after an officer attempted to pull over a vehicle for a driving violation at the intersection of 10th Street Northeast and East Oakland Avenue. The vehicle didn’t stop until Second Avenue Northeast, where a male got out of the vehicle and fled on foot. The vehicle, with two other people, took off again at high speed — with Hardy allegedly at the wheel.

The vehicle sped down six streets and avenues and ran two stop signs during the chase, where a second squad car got involved, according to the report.

Officers performed a high-risk traffic stop and arrested Hardy at gunpoint. The other passenger told police Hardy had borrowed the car, but she feared the owner may have reported it stolen, according to the court complaint. She reportedly urged Hardy to stop numerous times, but he refused because he didn’t want to go to jail.

According to the complaint, Hardy started kicking the windows of the police car after being detained and had to be placed in leg shackles.

Police found several items of drug paraphernalia in Hardy’s pockets and in the car. He admitted he had used meth recently, and he agreed to take a drug test.

He was served with two warrants after arriving at the jail. The suspect who fled cops on foot was not apprehended. The passenger was released.

Hardy’s next court date is scheduled for July 21.