Driver of Austin vehicle crash that injured three is facing felony charges
Law enforcement clocked the man going 130 miles per hour when he hit a median barrier, causing his vehicle to start on fire. Multiple bottles of alcohol were found in the car.
AUSTIN — A 20-year-old Albert Lea man is facing multiple felonies for crashing his vehicle during a high speed pursuit earlier this week that injured himself and two passengers near Austin, according to new charges filed in Mower County Court.
Devon McCormick Lee is charged with two counts of criminal vehicular operation and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, all felonies. He is also charged with five other lower counts related to dangerous driving and driving under the influence.
District Judge Jeffrey Kritzer released Lee on his own recognizance during a Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, hearing. Lee was also ordered not to have any contact with the victims and to abstain from illegal drugs and alcohol.
His next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16, 2023.
According to the criminal complaint:
A Minnesota State Trooper clocked Lee's 2016 Acura RDX going approximately 111 miles per hour while traveling westbound on Interstate 90 around midnight on Feb. 7, 2023.
Lee continued to pick up speed, reaching about 130 miles per hour, after the trooper attempted to pull Lee over.
He was traveling at this speed when he drove over a bridge on Sixth Street Northeast where the road bent into a right curve.
"The rear end of the vehicle slid out to the left, the driver over corrected, crossed both lanes of travel and collided with the cement Jersey barrier with its front end," reads part of the complaint.
Lee's vehicle slid backwards into the ditch and the trooper observed flames coming from the front of the car.
The pursuit lasted about two minutes and covered approximately three miles.
When the trooper told the occupants of the vehicle to put their hands in the air, 17-year-old juvenile boy in the rear passenger seat stuck his right hand up but said his left arm was broken and he not lift it.
Lee and another passenger, Gavin Gene Lawson, 19, also got out of the vehicle and Lee was detained.
Both passengers told the trooper that Lee saw the trooper activate his lights but did not know why he fled.
Lawson told Lee to slow down during the pursuit after seeing the high speed of the speedometer.
"(Lawson) stated that prior to seeing the trooper’s lights, he felt uncomfortable with the defendant’s driving and did not understand the need to drive so fast," part of the complaint reads.
The juvenile was transported to Mayo Clinic Health Service in Austin for a visible lump on his forehead, broken teeth and concerns about his arm being broken.
The trooper located several bottles of alcohol, some opened and one vodka bottle nearly empty. He also found a pipe with marijuana residue on the rear floor of the vehicle.
Lee failed several field sobriety tests and a sample of his blood taken and sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis.
Lee told the trooper he was the driver and that he was driving 145 miles per hour when he hit the median barrier. He was also transported to the Austin hospital before being taken to the Mower County Jail.
Neither passenger was wearing a seatbelt.