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Police chase suspect from Nisswa to Barrows

Jacob Eric Pikula

A high-speed chase lasting nearly 25 miles sent a vehicle into a ditch in Barrows and a man to jail.

At 1 a.m. Monday, April 9, a Nisswa police officer stopped a vehicle after first observing a loud exhaust, followed by the driver's sudden turn onto County Road 115/Ojibwa Road. The officer recognized the suspect, identified as 27-year-old Jacob Eric Pikula, from a previous traffic stop during which Pikula was cited for driving after suspension.

Pikula provided yellow papers confirming his identity, the officer reported, although a search of the system revealed not only was Pikula's driver's license status suspended, he'd never had a Minnesota driver's license. The suspect also failed to appear or respond to two citations within the last year, a criminal complaint stated.

Pikula apparently asked the officer if a friend could retrieve his vehicle, a request the officer granted. The officer told Pikula he didn't have much time, however, because Ojibwa Road does not have a shoulder. After about 15 minutes, Pikula was unable to make contact with anyone, the report stated.

The officer apparently told Pikula he was under arrest for continuing to drive without a license in conjunction with his history of not responding to citations. Pikula allegedly became upset and yelled, "You're taking me to jail anyways, (expletive) this!" He then shifted into drive and continued on Ojibwa Road, apparently reaching speeds of 85 mph in the 35 mph zone.

The officer pursued Pikula around to the end of County Road 115, where Nashway Road meets with Highway 371. The pursuit continued south on Highway 371. Meanwhile, the officer apparently observed items thrown from the vehicle, including a large white object and a plastic baggie. The suspect continued south on Highway 371, maintaining speeds over 100 mph, according to the complaint.

Ahead of the chase, a Crow Wing County sheriff's sergeant placed spike strips at the intersection of highways 371 and 210. Although Pikula continued to drive beyond that area, the sergeant told police he believed at least one tire was punctured by the strips.

Pikula left Highway 371 for Business Highway 371, where he eventually went into the ditch near Wels Avenue, the report stated. Officers surrounded the vehicle and ordered the suspect out at gunpoint, at which time he was arrested without incident.

A syringe cap and an alcohol wipe were found in Pikula's pocket, police reported, and several miscellaneous items were found in the vehicle. Also located was some of the property thrown from the car during the pursuit, including a white laundry basket with a homemade bong zip-tied to the inside and an AR-15 replica BB gun, spray-painted black.

The glass pipe portion of the bong was tested and recorded a positive result for methamphetamine.

Pikula appeared Wednesday in Crow Wing County District Court, where he faced charges of felony fifth-degree drug possession, felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and misdemeanor driving without a license. Bail/bond was set at $10,000 with conditions, or $25,000 without conditions. Pikula was no longer housed in the Crow Wing County Jail late Wednesday.