TOWN OF SALEM - An Arkansaw man led police on a slow-speed 8.3-mile pursuit April 6 that stopped and started multiple times before ending in a moving road block and arrest.
Ethan Galstad, 45, was arrested on suspicion of one felony count of attempting to flee or elude an officer, four misdemeanor counts of failure to stop vehicle and one count of resisting an officer.
If convicted, he could face up to three years, six months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to the complaint:
At about 10:22 p.m., an anonymous complainant reported a vehicle driving 20 mph near the east end split of US Highways 10 and 63 outside of Ellsworth. The driver pulled off onto the side of the road and then re-entered at approximately 26 mph, according to the police report. The complainant said the vehicle was crossing the center and fog lines.
At about 10:37 p.m., officers located the suspect vehicle, a gray Jeep Grand Cherokee, traveling eastbound on Highway 10 just east of the 490th Street intersection. The vehicle, according to radar, was going about 20 mph. A deputy activated his emergency lights and later sirens in an attempt to pull the vehicle over, which kept going. A deputy went ahead of the vehicle to set up a spike strip.
At approximately 10:44 p.m. the suspect approached the spike strip that had been set up near Wieser Concrete (W3716 US Highway 10) and ran over the spikes with his vehicle. Speeds reached about 27 mph before he hit the spikes. The suspect pulled over.
Officers conducted a felony stop, but the suspect allegedly failed to comply with officers' commands and again accelerated forward, travelling eastbound on Highway 10 at approximately 10:47 p.m. Dispatch notified Pepin County; at this time the Jeep was going about 14 mph. Pepin County deputies advised they would attempt a rolling road block. The suspect vehicle drifted into the ongoing lane of traffic, while deputies continued the slow pursuit. A short time later, the vehicle, traveling 20 mph, slid across the center line. An oncoming vehicle in the westbound lane was able to get off onto the shoulder safely. While passing the 300th Street intersection, the vehicle again straddled the center line.
The suspect stopped again at approximately 10:56 p.m. after a second oncoming vehicle passed by safely, near the 280th Street intersection. While stopped, he ignored police commands and gave them the middle finger. He again took off heading eastbound on Highway 10, straddling the center line going between 18 and 19 mph.
At 10:59 p.m., the vehicle stopped again near the intersection of 330th Avenue of its own accord. On this stop, the driver was told to turn off the vehicle and show his hands, but again took off moving down the road. He stopped yet again at 11:01 p.m. just east of the County Road CC intersection, the fourth stop of the incident. The driver got out of the vehicle and ignoring officers' commands, walked toward the patrol vehicles. He stopped about halfway between his vehicle and the officers', lifted both hands in the air with both middle fingers raised. He then said he needed a "smoke" and walked briskly back to his vehicle. He took off again in "an aggressive manner," spinning the rims on his tires that all appeared to be flat.
A Pepin County squad joined the pursuit at about 11:03 p.m. just past the 220th Street intersection. Speeds were about 25 mph, and the vehicle was beginning to lose control, sliding sideways into the opposite lane of traffic.
At approximately 11:07 p.m., three officers' vehicles performed a moving roadblock just west of 170th Street still heading eastbound on US Highway 10, and at this point the suspect's vehicle stopped.
Two deputies removed the suspect from the vehicle after he failed to comply with verbal commands. He was escorted to the ground and restrained. Due to the suspect's resistance, a K9 unit was deployed. No items of contraband were found.
According to the police report, a deputy asked the suspect why he did not stop for police, but the suspect answered with inappropriate responses that had nothing to do with the question. He allegedly told the officer that "he can't die" and the officers "should be more efficient," that they were his guides. After a mental health evaluation, he was booked into the jail.
Galstad's vehicle, which had sustained damage to all its tires and its inner fender wells, was towed away.
Galstad next appears in Pierce County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 1.