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High-speed chase ends without injury

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A 65-year-old Brainerd woman led half a dozen law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase after fleeing a domestic dispute where she rammed her estranged husband’s car.

No one was injured in the chase, which exceeded speeds of 80 mph at times. During the chase, one officer reported the speeds reached 100 mph. The driver, Judith Johnson, was arrested nearly 11 miles later after weaving an older model car across both lanes of traffic and through red stoplights, Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl said. At one point, Dahl said Johnson nearly T-boned a military vehicle.

Dahl was at the Crow Wing County Highway Department building by the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport when he first learned of the fleeing suspect.

The Brainerd Police Department received a driving complaint call at 2:27 p.m. Friday in the Gilbert Lake area, which apparently began as a domestic situation. Johnson allegedly rammed the vehicle her estranged husband was driving and then fled as a Crow Wing County deputy and Brainerd Police officer responded to the scene.

Johnson reportedly traveled east on Wise Road to Crow Wing County Highway 3, turning south toward Brainerd. A law enforcement officer then followed Johnson as she drove through the Highway 210 intersection by the East Brainerd Mall before heading southeast past Jack’s House bowling alley to the intersections of highways 18 and 25. Johnson then continued down Highway 25 to the south, crashing her car in a ditch when she tried to make the turn onto Thompson Road, law enforcement reported.

Criminal charges are pending. Johnson was arrested for second degree assault with a dangerous weapon and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

About half a dozen squad cars were involved in the incident. Dahl said he was following Johnson with two other units and other officers were converging to try to stop Johnson. Dahl said many people were put in jeopardy by Johnson’s decision to flee, either pedestrians or other drivers who could have been struck as Johnson drove through the red stoplights at the signal intersections.

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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