High speed chase ends in arrest for possession of counterfeit money

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle early Wednesday resulted in the arrest of a 19-year-old Austin teenager who was also allegedly in possession of counterfeit money.

Semaj Maurice Dow also faces potential charges, in addition to possession of counterfeit money, of fourth-degree driving while impaired, felony evading a police officer in a motor vehicle, driving after suspension and motor vehicle theft.

According to Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger, a pursuit began just after midnight Wednesday when an officer on routine patrol on Fourth Street Northwest by Austin High School saw a 2008 Chrysler Sebring without a driver. Assuming that someone was hunched down in the seat, the officer checked the license plate and found the license was revoked. The officer pulled behind the vehicle and continued to follow the vehicle on Fourth Street. It became clear the driver was trying to evade police and the chase continued along Second Avenue, Fourth Street Southeast, 13th Avenue Southeast and Eighth Street Southeast before the vehicle turned on Main Street and then west to Oakland Avenue.

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The officer estimated speeds of up to 100 mph. The suspect then ended up on West Oakland Avenue along Turtle Creek when the officer slowed his pursuit due to the water and winding path of the road.

The suspect drove onto Interstate 90, continuing the speeds of over 100 mph. Two marked squads, hearing the pursuit via radio, were waiting on 14th Street, while a Minnesota State Patrol trooper placed stop sticks under the 21st Street overpass. The spikes deflated the tires and the suspect was taken into custody without injury after he stopped at 28th Street.

He was taken into custody at gunpoint following the 11 1/2-mile chase that took eight minutes, said Krueger. Officers reported they noticed a smell of alcohol and discovered several $100 counterfeit bills in his possession.

The vehicle was later found to be stolen from the Walmart parking lot and was returned to the owner. The only property damage was deflated tires, said Krueger.

Dow has previous run-ins with law enforcement. He was arrested Feb. 23 when police found him changing a tire at Bandshell Community Park with more than 42.5 grams of marijuana and $2,327 in cash in the car. For that incident, he was charged with felony fifth-degree drug sale and a misdemeanor for possessing more than 1.4 grams of marijuana.

Dow was also involved in a February 2016 incident where gunshots were allegedly fired during a dispute over a woman, and he was also convicted of felony theft in a May 2016 incident where he and another man stole a car and took it for a “joy ride” to get back at the vehicle’s owner.

Dow is in the Mower County Jail awaiting formal charges in the most recent incident.

He was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday for Feb. 23 drug charges.