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Published June 08 2012

Clay County police chase reaches speeds up to 90 mph

MOORHEAD – Police say a woman who reportedly kicked out a window in Fargo early Friday ended up fleeing into Moorhead and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through Clay County that reached speeds of up to 90 mph.

Fargo Police Lt. Joel Vettel said an officer who responded to a burglary call at 1:17 a.m. in the 1500 block of 35th Street South made contact with the woman about two minutes later as she was attempting to leave the scene in her vehicle.

As the officer approached her on foot and tried to stop her, she nearly struck him with her vehicle as she fled the scene, Vettel said.

By the time the officer got back to his car, the woman was too far away and he didn’t pursue her, he said.

A Moorhead officer then tried to stop the woman for speeding at 1:35 a.m. on Center Avenue, but she refused to stop and accelerated eastbound on U.S. Highway 10, Moorhead Lt. Jim Nielsen said.

Pursuit speeds ranged from 60 to 90 mph, he said, noting that there were few other vehicles on the road at the time.

Clay County deputies joined the chase outside of Moorhead and took the lead in Hawley. The suspect turned south on State Highway 32, and a Minnesota State Patrol trooper used a pit maneuver to end the 27-minute pursuit.

No one was hurt, and the vehicles involved sustained minor damage, Nielsen stated in a news release.

Chelsea Justine Leonard, 24, of Fargo, was arrested and taken to the Clay County Jail.

Moorhead police are seeking charges of felony fleeing and second-degree DWI against Leonard.

Fargo police are recommending charges of reckless endangerment, fleeing and criminal mischief.

Vettel said it’s unclear why Leonard allegedly broke the window, but police determined it was a disturbance and not a burglary.

The Hawley Police Department also assisted in the pursuit.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528