Woman in Wednesday morning chase charged

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, February 16, 2023

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The woman who led law enforcement on a chase starting at an unrelated fire cal around midnight Tuesday, has officially been charged in Mower County District Court.

Samantha Rae Ricke, 33, of Austin, was charged with felony first degree DWI, felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and felony motor vehicle theft.

She has been charged with a gross misdemeanor for driving after cancellation as well as several misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors related to the chase, which began just after midnight Wednesday morning.

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The Austin Fire Department had been dispatched at 11:25 p.m. for a fire at Japan Panda, located at 100 14th Street SW, with Austin Police Department officers using their squads to block traffic.

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.

Officers shone a flashlight through the window and allegedly observed Ricke to have pinpoint pupils and continue to stare at officers as they tried to get her out of the vehicle.

The complaint states that Ricke then placed the vehicle in reverse, squealing the tires as she accelerated backwards to an estimated 25-30 mph into the intersection of Oakland Avenue West and 14th Street NW.

An officer began pursuit, at which time Ricke stopped the vehicle and accelerated forward, driving westbound on Oakland Avenue. She then turned north on 18th Avenue NW and blew through several stop signs with speeds varying between 30 and 40 mph.

During the chase, Ricke made several turns and at one point appeared to be pulling over, when she once again accelerated. The vehicle stopped again on Eighth Avenue NW where the officer again tried to get Ricke to stop, this time at gunpoint.

However, Ricke again accelerated with the squad’s radar gun recording a speed of 52 mph in 30 mph with the speed increasing at which time the officer ended the pursuit.

The complaint states that moments later a Mower County Sheriff’s Deputy picked up the chase until Ricke drove over the boulevard and sidewalk near Mayo Clinic Health Systems-Austin, where she collided with the deputy’s squad. Ricke exited the vehicle and fled on foot.

By this time, Austin Police officers arrived on scene and twice tried tazing Ricke, both times failing. She was eventually stopped with a running takedown and taken into custody. She was taken to MCHS-Austin where she was medically cleared and then taken to Mower County Jail. A urine sample was taken and sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing.

An Austin Police officer made contact with the registered owner and discovered that the vehicle used in the chase was stolen and that Ricke didn’t have permission to take the vehicle.

A review of Ricke’s criminal history shows that she has three prior convictions for DWI-drug use.

Ricke’s next court date is an initial appearance on Feb. 27.