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Blood-alcohol level allegedly three times legal limit

Suspect who crashed car is charged with fleeing

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

Jose Catarino Navarro crashed his car into a ditch south of Austin late Saturday after allegedly leading police on a chase through the city while drunk.

The 45-year-old Austin man made his first appearance Wednesday in Mower District Court on a felony count of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle. He also faces charges of second- and third-degree driving while impaired, and obstructing the legal process.

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Judge Fred Wellmann set conditional bail for Navarro at $5,000, records show. Navarro, 2306 Fourth Dr. S.W., returns to court on July 5.

Navarro allegedly had a 0.23 percent blood-alcohol level, nearly three times Minnesota’s legal limit, at Austin Medical Center following the chase, according to the criminal complaint. He also has a prior conviction for driving under the influence in 2003.

According to the complaint, an Austin police officer got a report about 8:20 p.m. Saturday of a possibly intoxicated person driving a car in the northeast area. The officer found the vehicle in an alley near Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street Northeast. As the officer drove up, the vehicle turned south on Eighth Street, starting a long chase.

At one point, Navarro allegedly sped up to 60 mph heading west on Oakland Place Southeast. A while later, Navarro’s car narrowly missed a deputy’s vehicle at 10th Drive and Oakland Place Southeast, as he traveled 70 mph toward U.S. 218 South.

Going south on U.S. 218, Navarro tried to turn east on Mower County Road 28 but miscalculated the turn and crashed into a ditch, the complaint says. A deputy and officer pointed stun guns at him while another officer helped him from his vehicle. Authorities used the stun guns on Navarro after he didn’t comply.

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