Woman in chase last week pleads not guilty

Published 5:22 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

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An Austin woman who allegedly drove intoxicated into an active fire scene and then led law enforcement on a brief chase has entered pleas in the case.

Samantha Rae Ricke, 33, entered pleas of not guilty to felony first degree DWI, felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and felony motor vehicle theft, a count of gross misdemeanor for driving after cancellation as well as several misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors related to a chase, which began just after midnight on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Read more: Woman in Wednesday morning chase charged

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According to the court complaint, at around 12:10 a.m. an officer using his squad to block Oakland Avenue West and 14th Street SW observed a beige Ford F150 approach and drive around the squad into the active fire scene and up to a hose used to fight the fire. Officers tried to communicate with Ricke, the driver, who appeared confused and began driving the vehicle toward the hose and a fire truck.

Ricke eventually fled the scene first backwards and then west on Oakland Avenue West, turning off and leading officers through Austin before giving up the chase for safety. A Mower County Sheriff’s Office deputy eventually picked up the chase and Ricke was later caught trying to flee on foot.

A review of Ricke’s criminal history shows that she has three prior convictions for DWI-drug use.  Ricke is scheduled for a jury trial on July 10.