An allegedly intoxicated Eagan man took his sweet time driving home, despite being pursued by a police squad car for 1.4 miles.
Michael Stanley Merrick faces one felony count of fleeing from a peace officer in a motor vehicle, one gross misdemeanor count of third-degree driving while impaired, one misdemeanor count of fourth-degree driving while impaired, obstructing the legal process and driving without headlights. If convicted on the felony charge of fleeing police, Merrick could face a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The leisurely, slow-speed pursuit began just after 11 p.m. on Jan. 20, when an Eagan officer noticed a car stopped at an intersection on Rahncliff Court without its headlights on, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Dakota County Attorney's office.
The officer activated his emergency lights and attempted to pull the vehicle over, but Merrick allegedly continued onward, making several turns and never exceeding 32 mph. Despite the flashing lights and sound of the siren, police say Merrick only stopped when he reached his home and pulled into his garage.
At that point, the officer parked behind Merrick and attempted to handcuff the 46-year-old man. While placing Merrick under arrest, the officer noticed that Merrick appeared to have slow reflexes and smelled of alcoholic beverages.
Merrick initially refused a preliminary breath test and field sobriety tests, but the officer placed the PBT device directly in front of Merrick and captured a .124 reading from the air in front of the man.
At one point, Merrick allegedly attempted to bribe the officer, offering him $500 if police would let him go.
Police transported Merrick to the Eagan Police Department, where the officer also noticed lack of smooth pursuit in Merrick's eyes when administering a horizontal nystagmus test. Police say he also had slurred speech and glassy, red eyes, and failed a walk-and-turn test conducted at the station.
Merrick was booked at the Dakota County Jail and was released after posting bond on Jan. 24.