Two charged in connection with theft, chase
Two Rochester women have been charged with allegedly stealing items from the Walmart store in Austin last weekend and then leading law enforcement officers on a chase during which speeds topped 100 mph.
Beth Marie Hansen, 25, who was arrested Saturday, was charged Tuesday in Mower County District Court with fifth-degree drug possession; theft; fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle; and fourth-degree assault of a peace officer, all felonies. In addition, she was charged with gross misdemeanor DWI; and driving after revocation and fleeing a peace officer on foot, both misdemeanors.
Natasha Lynn Duellman, 34, of 255 Seventh Ave. S.E., Rochester, who was arrested Monday, was charged Wednesday with felony counts of theft and fifth-degree drug possession, as well as fleeing a peace officer, a misdemeanor.
A Walmart employee reported about 3:40 a.m. Saturday that two women were leaving without paying for electronic equipment, including a flat-screen TV and two laptop computers, according to Austin police. Officers spotted an SUV matching the description given by store clerks on westbound Interstate 90.
The officers unsuccessfully tried to stop the vehicle, and the chase reached speeds of 110 mph, according to police. The vehicle left I-90 at exit 166, braked abruptly, swerved right onto Mower County Road 46 and headed back east toward Austin. Speeds during the chase on Mower County Road 46 reached 100 mph, according to police.
Officers with the Austin Police Department, Mower County Sheriff’s Department , Albert Lea Police Department and Freeborn County Sheriff’s Department were involved in the pursuit.
Mower County deputies put stop sticks in the road a mile west of Austin on County Road 46, spiking the right front tire of the SUV; the vehicle continued east on West Oakland Avenue at approximately 80 mph. Eventually, the vehicle went over a curb into a field of prairie grass and came to a stop.
Two women ran from the SUV. Officers chased the driver, believed to be Hansen, east to a small hill, where they lost sight of her. The passenger, believed to be Duellman, ran southwest. According to police, Hansen was found a short time later in a grove of trees. A police dog bit her during the incident.
As an Austin police officer was taking her to a squad car to take her to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, Hansen allegedly spit in the officer’s face. She was taken by ambulance for medical treatment at the clinic, then transported to the Mower County jail.
Police later found Duellman, who reportedly left her wallet and driver's license in the SUV.
The drug charges stem from the allegation that officers found cocaine and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.
The electronic equipment was recovered.