Woman charged with driving under the influence into an active fire seen amends plea

Published 1:29 pm Friday, December 15, 2023

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An Austin woman arrested in February after driving into an unrelated fire call while under the influence, has amended her plea on one of eight charges she was facing.

Samantha Rae Ricke, 34, pleaded guilty to felony first degree DWI in Mower County District Court Friday during what was to be a pre-trial hearing.

Ricke was arrested just after midnight on Feb. 15. 

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According to court documents, Ricke drove a Ford F150 around a squad at the scene of a fire at Japan Panda at just before midnight and nearly ran over a hose. Officers tried to communicate with Ricke, 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 pinpoint pupils and continue to stare at officers as they tried to get her out of the vehicle.

She then proceeded to lead officers on a brief chase that at one point included top-most speeds of around 52 mph, at which time officers ended the pursuit. A Mower County Sheriff’s Office Deputy picked up the chase and Ricke was eventually taken into custody..

There were no details listed on the court website as to a possible plea deal. Ricke is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 8.