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Slayton man charged with vehicle theft, DWI

SLAYTON -- Bail was set at $20,000 Monday morning for a Slayton man who was discovered passed out on the floor of his residence wet with rain and blood during an investigation into a hit-and-run on King Avenue early Wednesday morning.

Chad Wayne Mitchell, 25, who has charges pending for driving while impaired (DWI) from a June incident, is now facing accusations that range from stealing his boss' truck to driving away intoxicated from a crash. He is charged in Murray County District Court with motor vehicle theft, first-degree DWI, first-degree criminal damage to property, test refusal, driving after cancellation-inimical to public safety, tampering with a motor vehicle, reckless driving and colliding with an unattended vehicle.

Mitchell has previous convictions for careless driving, driving after revocation, DWI, disorderly conduct and domestic assault. In past years he was twice charged with underage drinking and driving, but each charge was dismissed as part of a plea bargain. He was released from jail on bond after his June arrest, with a condition of release banning the consumption of alcohol.

Authorities received a call around 3:45 a.m. Wednesday morning reporting a hit-and- run accident, according to the criminal complaint. The caller believed the driver of a black Chevrolet pickup was Mitchell. A couple on King Avenue said Mitchell had just left their house after declining a ride home and stating his intention to walk to his own residence. It was raining steadily at the time of the incident. Shortly after he left, they said, they heard a truck start at a nearby construction lot, then heard a loud crashing noise. They looked outside and saw a car on the street smashed up and the black pickup leaving the scene.

Two officers went to the construction lot and located the pickup, which had fresh blood on the steering wheel and driver's seat. They went to Mitchell's residence, where his girlfriend answered the door. She said he was just inside the door sleeping. The officers observed Mitchell lying on the floor soaking wet, with fresh blood on his jeans and shirt. Mitchell allegedly smelled heavily of alcohol and had scrapes on his arms. There were no beverage containers or evidence indicating he had been drinking at home.

The officers woke him to ask if he was OK, but reported Mitchell did not wake easily and seemed confused. He allegedly denied being in any type of accident and insisted he had been home all night. He declined medical treatment.

With his intoxication and condition obvious, the officers arrested Mitchell and brought him to the law enforcement center, where he argued he had not been driving. He was allowed time to call an attorney, but was unsuccessful at doing so.

He allegedly agreed to take an Intoxilyzer breath test, then later changed his mind. He told the officer he had injured himself at work 12 hours before. He allegedly stated he had been home all night, then changed his story and said he had been at a friend's house. The officer allegedly told Mitchell he believed the wounds were fresher than 12 hours old, and asked for a sample of blood to compare with what was found in the truck. Mitchell declined to give a sample, the complaint states.

When asked to provide a pre-breath test for jail purposes, Mitchell agreed. The breath test he provided indicated .255 percent blood alcohol content.

The truck was released to the owner after blood samples and evidence were secured. The owner, who admitted he employed Mitchell with the understanding Mitchell was not to drive any vehicles because he lacked a license, agreed the vehicle was stolen even though he said he did not wish to get Mitchell in trouble.

Mitchell's girlfriend, when questioned, said Mitchell had gotten home shortly before the police arrived.

As of Monday afternoon, Mitchell was still in custody at the Nobles County Jail.