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Stephen J. Lee, Forum Communications, Published November 14 2012

Man charged in high-speed chases in GF, Fargo pleads not guilty

GRAND FORKS - The Grafton, N.D., man charged with leading police on three high-speed chases in August in Grand Forks and Fargo pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a raft of charges in eight separate cases against him.

Juan Angel Robles, 32, faces 10 felony counts of fleeing police, reckless endangerment and drug possession in state district court in Grand Forks. Each carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

He also faces several misdemeanor counts.

Robles’ attorney, Ted Sandberg, said last month in a court appearance that it’s not clear Robles was driving the cars police say he was.

On Tuesday, Sandberg said “there’s a mountain of evidence” to go through in the case before a final decision is made on whether Robles will go to trial.

Prosecutors say Robles three times over five days led police on dangerous high speed chases, including driving nearly 100 mph through town in Grand Forks, driving the wrong way and causing several accidents, including two that led to minor injuries.

After the first chase, Robles abandoned a car in which police later found evidence of drug crimes, according to court documents.

In the second chase, prosecutors say he stole an SUV from his girlfriend’s mother and led police on a chase that ended in Fargo, where he abandoned the vehicle and escaped. At one point in Grand Forks, police say, the SUV dragged an officer, leading the officer to fire a gun and shattering the rear window.

Robles was arrested after the third chase, in which he crashed his girlfriend’s car on a rural road southwest of Grand Forks, according to police.

His girlfriend, with their young daughter, and the girlfriend’s mother attended his hearing Tuesday to show support. They declined comment after the hearing.

Robles remains in the Grand Forks County jail under a total bond of about $280,000, cash or surety.

State District Judge Joel Medd set a pretrial conference for Robles for Jan. 10.