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Woman who allegedly led police on chase down Jefferson gets 5 felonies

Jacqueline Lamorris Kent of Wadena has racked up 5 felony charges and two misdemeanor charges for an incident on July 10 in which she allegedly fled police after being pulled over and led them on a high-speed chase down Jefferson Street during midday traffic before crashing the car into a commercial sign near Aldrich Avenue, according to the criminal complaint filed against her in Seventh District Court. The complaint also alleged Kent then attempted to walk away from the scene. Her 13-year-old nephew who was in the car suffered a broken femur and officers observed him as "screaming in agonizing pain".

Local authorities had previously dealt with Kent two days prior to the incident, when she provided information in a stolen-vehicle investigation that later turned out to be false, the complaint said. In that investigation, Kent had reported stolen the same white Oldsmobile Bravada that was used to flee officers during the chase, the complaint said. When she was stopped by law enforcement immediately prior to the chase on July 10, Kent was in the process of assisting the vehicle's owner by driving it back from a tow company lot while they followed her in a blue Chevrolet Celebrity.

The chase began when law enforcement received word Kent, who had an outstanding warrant in Grant County, was heading towards Wadena while traveling north on Highway 71. Sgt. Naomi Plautz of the Wadena Police Department said Wednesday that the Grant County warrant was for failure to appear in court on a bad-check charge, and it was because of this warrant on Kent and the allegedly false information she had recently provided to police that the authorities set out to stop her.

In order to catch Kent July 10, the complaint said, a Wadena County Sheriff's deputy and two WPD officers situated each of their vehicles at points south of town and waited for her to pass near them. Officer Nick Grabe of the WPD pulled her over near the intersection of Highway 71 and County Road 100, and when Grabe approached the vehicle and asked Kent for her license and proof of insurance, Kent said she did not have them with her. Grabe told Kent to shut the engine off and step out of the car. Kent then asked what was going on, and Grabe told her of the false information she had allegedly given and the outstanding warrant from Grant County. Kent then reportedly began arguing with Grabe, saying she had never been to jail before. Grabe replied that a warrant being issued did not necessarily require someone to have served jail time. Grabe told Kent she was under arrest, and again told her to exit the vehicle. Plautz then arrived on scene, but Kent continued to ignore both officers' requests to exit the vehicle, to the point where they attempted to open the car door themselves. It was locked, however, and Kent then stepped on the accelerator so that the car's tires spun and fled Plautz and Grabe, the complaint said.

With police on her tail, Kent then allegedly drove down Highway 71/Jefferson Street through downtown Wadena in speeds over 80 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone; weaving in and out of moving traffic and parked cars. Kent finally lost control of the vehicle and collided with a commercial signpost on the northeast corner of the intersection of Jefferson Street South / Highway 71 and Aldrich Avenue.

"Defendant had exited the vehicle and was walking away from the crash when officers drew their weapons and ordered her to the ground, eventually placing handcuffs on her," the complaint said.

Officers also saw that a juvenile passenger identified only as A.B. "had crawled out of the wrecked vehicle" and "had blood coming out of his mouth, he was screaming in agonizing pain". After being treated initially by Tri-County Health Care paramedics, A.B. later was flown to Hennepin County Medical Center and treated for a fractured right femur as well as other injuries. The date of birth included for A.B. in the complaint indicates he is 13 years old. After the crash, Kent apologized to police for giving the wrong name and reportedly told them "she just wanted to get her nephew, A.B., home".

According to the complaint, a source told police that Kent may have used crack cocaine and marijuana in the days prior to the crash. However, Plautz did not observe any indication of controlled substance use on Kent at the crash scene, the complaint said. A blood test of Kent was administered and the sample sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis.

The crash caused more than $50,000 worth of damage to the signpost alone, the complaint said.

The complaint said Kent has previously been convicted four times of giving a false name to a peace officer, and that her criminal record has 23 different reported names, 7 different reported dates of birth and 7 different reported social security numbers. According to the complaint, her criminal history also includes "several felony drug and and felony child endangerment charges from out-of-state jurisdictions, namely Wisconsin and Illinois".

The list of charges from the incident on July 10 includes two counts of First Degree Felony Criminal Damage to Property, which each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine; one count of Felony Obstruct Legal Process, 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine; one count of Felony Criminal Vehicular Homicide or Operation, 3 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine; one count of Felony Fleeing a Peace Officer in a Motor Vehicle, 3 years and 1 day in prison and/or a $5,000 fine; one misdemeanor count of Reckless Driving, 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine; and one misdemeanor count of Driving Without a Valid License, 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Wadena County Attorney Kyra Ladd is prosecuting the case. Court documents said Kent has been appointed public defender Ryan Ries as defense representation. She has an omnibus hearing scheduled for August 5 at the Wadena County Courthouse.