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Itasca County teen gets probation for high-speed chase

GRAND RAPIDS — An Itasca County teenager will be on strict probation through 2016, and will have to pay $12,800 in restitution and perform 71 hours of community service, according to a sentence read Wednesday in district court.

Grant Gunderson pleaded guilty in February to charges of fleeing a police officer and driving while intoxicated during a high-speed chase out of Grand Rapids on July 4.

According to court documents, officers were responding to a domestic assault call when Gunderson fled in a vehicle at speeds exceeding 100 mph. At one point, authorities said, he tried to ram two squad cars, forcing the vehicles into the ditch. A Grand Rapids police officer also fired shots at the vehicle.

The Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office determined that the officer used “reasonable and legitimate” force when he fired his weapon at the fleeing vehicle.

The pursuit ended on U.S. Highway 169 about 10 miles south of Grand Rapids, with the assistance of the Minnesota State Patrol. A Grand Rapids police officer and an Itasca County deputy received minor injuries during the incident.

Gunderson was charged with three counts of use of deadly force against a peace officer, one count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and one count of domestic assault — all felonies — and one misdemeanor count each of driving while impaired and duty to drive with due care. He was convicted on the fleeing and DWI charges.

Along with the restitution and community service, Gunderson’s probation conditions include writing a letter of apology, no possession of dangerous weapons, entering a drug and alcohol program, no use or possession of alcohol or drugs, random drug testing, getting permission to leave the state, and informing a probation officer of changes in employment or residences.

Gunderson was 17 at the time and the county was denied a request to try him as an adult. Now 18, Gunderson was given a stayed adult sentence of one year should he break his probation.

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