Man charged in crash that reached speeds of 145 mph changes pleas

Published 3:41 pm Monday, July 10, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

An Albert Lea man who was charged with several counts related to a single-vehicle crash in February, has entered into a plea deal with the Mower County Attorney’s Office.

Devon McCormick Lee, 20, of Albert Lea, was charged with felony charges of criminal vehicle operation, a single felony of fleeing a peace officer, two gross misdemeanors of criminal vehicular operation and three misdemeanors including fourth degree DWI, open bottle and speeding.

In a hearing in Mower County District Court Monday, Lee pleaded guilty to the fleeing a peace officer charge along with the two gross misdemeanors of criminal vehicular operation.

Email newsletter signup

Initially, he had entered not guilty pleas for all eight charges.

Official sentencing will be on Oct. 5.

Lee was the driver of a vehicle that according to a Minnesota State Patrol report lost control and crashed into the median at around 12:02 a.m. the morning of Feb. 6, 2023. The car also contained two passengers: 19-year-old Gavin Gene Lawson of Albert Lea and a 17-year-old unidentified male, both of whom were transported to Mayo Clinic Health Systems — Austin.

According to the court complaint, Lee was recorded by a Minnesota State Trooper going 111 mph and later was recorded going 123 mph in a 65 mph. A pursuit was initiated and during the pursuit speeds reached as high as 130 mph, however, according to both Lawson and the juvenile, speeds hit 140 mph.

Toward the end of the pursuit, which lasted approximately two minutes and covered three miles, Lee failed to negotiate a curve and overcorrected. The Acura he was driving crossed both lanes of travel and collided with the cement barrier with its front end, coming to a rest in the eastbound ditch at milepost 179.

When questioned after the crash, Lee said that he was going 145 mph at the time of the wreck.

A search of the vehicle turned up two bottles of alcohol that were not opened, another that was still about three-fourths full and a fourth that was nearly empty. Troopers also located a marijuana pipe and plastic bag containing marijuana residue.

According to the complaint, Lee also had failed every sobriety test he was given, despite claiming that he had nothing to drink since 7 p.m. Monday evening.