A St. Paul man is accused of drunkenly fleeing Edina police through city streets at speeds more than 70 miles per hour in a van stolen during a burglary of an Eden Prairie non-profit.
Raul Vera, 43, of St. Paul has been charged with one felony count of fleeing police, one felony count of motor vehicle theft, one felony burglary count and a gross misdemeanor count of driving while impaired.
According to the criminal complaint:
Around 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 13, Edina police saw a van belonging to The PROP Shop, an Eden Prairie nonprofit that gives free clothing, household goods and furniture to families in need, speeding on southbound Highway 100, drifting left and right in its lane.
When Edina police turned on their lights and sirens, the van continued at speed before exiting at West 77th Street, driving through a red light onto Edina Industrial Boulevard.
Edina police pursued the van through city streets at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour.
After 2.4 miles, the van crashed into two large boulders, spinning left and colliding with a building.
The driver, identified as Vera, then ran into a wooded area, ignoring the shouted commands of police.
When police apprehended Vera, he smelled of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot and watery. “I’m drunk,” he told police, according to the criminal complaint.
When he took a breath test at 4:17 a.m., almost three hours after the start of the car chase, his blood alcohol concentration was .16.
A laptop belonging to The PROP Shop was found in the van. Both the van’s keys and the laptop had been stolen from the non-profit earlier in the evening.
Vera has been previously convicted of driving while intoxicated in April 2004 and of refusing a DWI test in September 2006.He faces up to five years behind bars.