High-speed chase ends in Austin: Suspect had active warrant

Published 11:03 am Thursday, February 28, 2019

Cully Thomas Shierts, 22, of Albert Lea was charged with felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and felony fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance on Wednesday in Freeborn County District Court.

According to the court complaint, Albert Lea police officers were dispatched on Tuesday to the Motor Inn in Albert Lea regarding a suspicious vehicle. Dispatch advised it was believed subjects were attempting to steal a snow blower from another vehicle. A description of the vehicle and the plate numbers matched a vehicle owner by Shierts, who had an active warrant. Officers were then advised the vehicle had left the motel and was at a traffic light at Main Street West and Blake Avenue.

Cully Thomas Shierts, 22

An officer located the vehicle and began to follow, then activated his siren. The vehicle initially pulled over on the side of the County Road 46 in the area of 790th Avenue, then pulled off the shoulder. The officer pursued the vehicle, which passed another vehicle on County Road 46 in a no passing zone. Speeds exceeded 90 miles per hour on roads that were covered in ice and snow. The chase continued onto County Road 26 and Interstate 90 before getting back on County Road 46.

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The chase entered Mower County, where Mower County deputies were able to hit the vehicle with stop sticks. The chase continued onto Oakland Avenue into Austin, where the vehicle turned onto 22nd Street Northwest. The lead officer then observed the vehicle park in the driveway of a residence at 20th Street Northwest near the backside of a snow bank. The vehicle’s doors were open.

The officer behind the lead officer observed a male in dark clothing carrying a backpack running up the driveway towards the backyard. He pursued the suspect and saw the backpack lying on top of snow next to a bush. He then ran to the south side of the house and arrested Shierts, who was trying to run through snow.

Police searched the backpack and found hypodermic syringes, a digital scale, plastic bags that had a powdery residue that later tested positive for methamphetamine, and a small bag of marijuana. They also found an EBT card and Minnesota picture ID, both belonging to Shierts.

At the Freeborn County Jail, officers spoke to Shierts, who said he ran because he knew he had a warrant and that drugs were in the vehicle. He initially said he was visiting a friend in Albert Lea, then admitted he was there to sell drugs.

A review of Shierts’ criminal record shows juvenile adjudications for burglary and convictions for theft, domestic assault and drug possession. He is currently awaiting disposition on charges in Freeborn County of receiving stolen property, fifth-degree drug possession, possession of metal knuckles and driving after revocation of his license. He recently pleaded guilty to felony second-degree drugs-sale of 10 grams or more of a narcotic other than heroin in Mower County District Court.

Shierts will appear in court again on March 7.