A 100 mph chase outside Hinckley on Jan. 31 has led to criminal drug charges against the alleged driver.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Pine County Court, on Jan. 31 a Pine County Sheriff’s Office deputy was on routine patrol in Hinckley when his attention was drawn to a white sedan with a male driver and female passenger that did not have any license plates.
The deputy’s vehicle was positioned next to the sedan in the two left turn lanes onto Fire Monument Road. When the driver of the vehicle – later identified as Nahom Tesfalidet, 39, of Minneapolis – began turning, the sedan crossed over into the deputy’s turn lane. The deputy followed the sedan as it accelerated to 51 mph in the 30 mph zone and crossed over the center and fog lines.
The deputy activated his emergency lights to stop the vehicle. The sedan made a sudden move onto the shoulder and then back into the driving lane. The deputy activated his siren in addition to his lights. The sedan passed a vehicle and accelerated to 70 mph. The sedan went through a red light at the intersection of Fire Monument Road and Lady Luck Lane and continued accelerating. The sedan then passed a vehicle in the no passing zone area. It was now traveling at speeds of 100 mph and approaching Wisconsin. The deputy saw the passenger reach her hand out the window and something flew out of her hand.
Assisting officers attempted to aid the deputy in boxing in the sedan to stop it from fleeing but the driver was able to evade them and cross over into Wisconsin.
St. Croix Tribal Police Officers had stop sticks deployed near Danbury which were successful in disabling two tires of the vehicle. The sedan continued to flee but was eventually able to be boxed in by a snowbank and three squad cars.
Inside the vehicle the deputy located a clear baggie containing a white crystal substance that NIK-tested positive for methamphetamine with an uncertified weight of 15 grams. There was also a glass pipe with burned residue consistent with methamphetamine. Tesfalidet was in possession of $1,221 in cash on his person.
In the passenger’s purse, officers located multiple hypodermic needles. One of the needles contained a clear liquid substance that NIK-tested positive for methamphetamine.
A record check shows that Tesfalidet was previously convicted of Controlled Substance Crime in the Second Degree in 2017 and Controlled Substance Crime in the Third Degree in 2019. He had an active warrant for probation violation from Nov. 27, 2019. Tesfalidet was taken to the hospital for evaluation in Wisconsin.
Tesfalidet faces third degree felony drug possession charges, fifth degree felony possession of a controlled substance charges and felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. The maximum penalty is 20 years and/or a fine of up to $250,000.