Austin man in Albert Lea chase charged with felonies

Published 10:05 am Thursday, October 6, 2016


ALBERT LEA — The Austin man arrested Tuesday after leading authorities on a high-speed chase in Albert Lea was charged Wednesday with multiple felonies in Freeborn County District Court.

Coniah Emmerson Horton, 31, is charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, fourth-degree burglary, fleeing a peace officer by means other than a motor vehicle and reckless driving.

Coniah Emmerson Horton, 31

Coniah Emmerson Horton, 31

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Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Paige Starkey argued conditional bail be set at $40,000 because of Horton’s extensive criminal record and pending Olmsted County warrant related to a terroristic threats charge.

Starkey said Horton has an extensive juvenile record and 20 prior arrest warrants.

Horton claimed he was not a flight risk.

“All my ties are here,” he said. “I don’t have a reason to leave.”

He claimed his criminal history does not neglect the good things he has done.

“I’ve paid my debt to society,” Horton said.

He said he has Type I diabetes and claimed his health deteriorates when he is incarcerated.

Horton said he is a good father to his five children, and claimed he had recently gone through a divorce and his mother’s death.

District Court Judge Ross Leuning set conditional bail at $40,000.

Court documents state Horton was arrested after an Albert Lea Police Department officer initiated a traffic stop at about 10:45 p.m. near the intersection of James Avenue and Fourth Street for a vehicle registration violation.

Horton reportedly did not slow down his vehicle when an officer activated his emergency lights, and accelerated to approximately 41 mph, blowing through a stop sign at the intersection of St. John Avenue and East Fifth Street, court documents state.

Horton then turned east on Sixth Street, and reportedly accelerated to around 44 mph, running through another stop sign before turning north on Frank Avenue and cutting into oncoming traffic.

Court documents state Horton turned west on Fifth Street and accelerated to approximately 59 mph, weaving into oncoming traffic.

Horton reportedly could not navigate a bend in the road on Virginia Place, resulting in the vehicle going over a curb and resting partially in a yard.

Horton opened the driver’s door and ran toward James Avenue while an officer chased him, court documents state.

Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted police in establishing a perimeter around the area. Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota State Patrol K-9 unit officers began an area search to locate Horton.

The K-9 search reportedly noticed a door partially ajar on an unattached garage in the 300 block of East Seventh Street about one block from where the vehicle crashed. The K-9 reportedly strongly alerted at the entry door, and Horton was found and taken into custody.

In a Mirandized statement with an officer, Horton reportedly nodded when an officer asked him if he had fled to avoid going to jail and admitted to not having a valid driver’s license.

Horton’s next court appearance is scheduled for next Thursday.

Fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle carries a maximum sentence of three years and one day in jail and a $5,000 fine.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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