Charges filed after high speed chaseWORTHINGTON — Bail was set at $25,000 Wednesday for a Worthington man who allegedly led police on a high speed chase through Worthington Monday morning.
WORTHINGTON — Bail was set at $25,000 Wednesday for a Worthington man who allegedly led police on a high speed chase through Worthington Monday morning.
Majuang Thomas Ojulu, 20, who is on probation from an assault incident that took place in 2008, is now facing charges of fleeing a peace officer, criminal vehicular operation, theft and reckless driving.
The criminal complaint states officers from the Worthington Police Department were on the lookout for a dark-colored SUV that had been used in various thefts over the weekend.
So when two officers noted a vehicle that matched the description traveling on Oxford Street at about 10:15 a.m. Monday , they followed it, pulling the SUV over in front of a gas station.
An officer got out and approached the SUV on foot, but as he approached, the vehicle pulled away rapidly. The officers pursued the SUV as it headed toward Minnesota 60 and Interstate 90, going 90 miles per hour or more.
The SUV turned onto the westbound ramp of I-90, and the driver, Ojulu, began to lose control.
The SUV spun 180 degrees, went over the concrete median and ended up in the I-90 off-ramp, then followed the ramp back to Minnesota 60 and through Worthington on Oxford Street, allegedly traveling through the 35 mile per hour zone at speeds of 70 to 90 miles per hour on roads slick with ice and snow.
The officers gave chase and watched as the SUV allegedly swerved from lane to lane, using both the shoulder of the road and the median to avoid other cars.
Ojulu drove through a red light at the Humiston intersection, then at McMillan Street, narrowly avoiding other vehicles as it traveled. At the intersection of Oxford Street and Diagonal Road, Ojulu allegedly drove through the four-way stop.
A semi-truck with a trailer was already in the intersection turning westbound onto Oxford Street.
The SUV began to skid and collided with the trailer.
An officer approached the SUV on the passenger side and noted Ojulu had already gotten out of the vehicle and was running down Park Avenue.
Two officers ran after Ojulu, who kicked off his shoes and kept running. Another officer pulled up in a squad car with his taser drawn, and the officers in foot pursuit caught up and wrestled Ojulu to the ground, the complaint states.
Ojulu allegedly told officers later he had stolen a sandwich and some beef jerky from a convenience store and thought the officers were going to arrest him for that theft.
At approximately 4:30 a.m., a Worthington Police officer had responded to a complaint of food items being stolen from a convenience store, with the description of the suspect matching that of Ojulu.
At the scene of the crash, another officer spoke to a passenger in the SUV, who complained of a neck injury.
The passenger was taken to the hospital, and while there told the officer he and Ojulu had been in Sioux Falls, S.D. all night, where they had stolen beer, filled up with gas and then ran away without paying.
Ojulu had stolen cigarettes so he could resell them, the passenger said.
They went back to Worthington, he added, and stole food from a convenience store.
He said they only needed food because they already had beer in the SUV.
An order was filed Wednesday in Nobles County District Court granting Ojulu a public defender.
According to court documents filed through MNCIS, Minnesota’s electronic document filing system, he owes more than $9,000 in restitution and court fees from the 2008 incident, in which Ojulu was convicted for stabbing a man with a knife.