An officer with the Onamia Police Department observed a vehicle going 76 in a 65 mph zone of U.S. Hwy. 169 on Nov. 4. An initial traffic stop escalated into a high speed chase involving three local law enforcement agencies and, subsequently, a crash. Christopher Donald Drift, 36, of Isle, was apprehended and charged with motor vehicle theft, fleeing a peace officer, assault, and multiple DWI counts.
According to the complaint:
When the speeding vehicle was observed, the Onamia officer attempted to initiate a stop, and the speeding vehicle pulled into the parking lot of a nearby business. Dispatch reported that the vehicle, a GMC Sierra, had been signed as stolen from Sauk Rapids on Nov. 3. Because of this, according to the complaint, officers told Drift to put his hands out the window. Drift did not respond to this or any other commandes, nor did he respond when approached and addressed by an officer directly. Onamia police called for backup with Mille Lacs Tribal Police and the Mille Lacs Sheriff’s Office responding. When law enforcement attempted to take Drift into custody, he took off from the parking lot at a high rate of speed down Stevens Road.
All three enforcement agencies were in active pursuit, and Drift accelerated to over 120 mph for approximately 6.5 miles. At one point, Drift’s vehicle struck a deer with enough force to dismember the animal, but he continued to accelerate. Eventually, he crashed in a ditch along 60th Avenue in Mille Lacs County. Despite airbags deploying, Drift attempted to continue, but he was eventually subdued and identified.
Drift was visibly intoxicated and holding a beer bottle when pulled from his vehicle, as well as smelling of alcohol. He was uncooperative as law enforcement and an ambulance attempted to render first aid and he had to be restrained into a backboard and C-collar. Drift screamed obscenities throughout and, at one point, bit an EMT in the leg.
Drift was transported to Onamia hospital and treated for his injuries. Law enforcement received a search warrant for his blood. They attempted to read him an advisory, but Drift was in and out of consciousness and did not respond to law enforcement. The blood test showed that he had consumed methamphetamine and had a blood alcohol level of .21.
Drift has been charged with one felony count of motor vehicle theft, which carries a maximum sentence of five years and/or a $10,000 fine; one felony count of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, which carries a maximum sentence of three years and/or a $5,000 fine; felony count of fourth-degree assault on an emergency medical person, which carries a maximum sentence of two years and/or $4,000 fine; one gross misdemeanor count of driving while under the influence, which carries a maximum sentence of one year and/or a $3,000 fine; one gross misdemeanor count of operating a motor vehicle within two hours of a blood alcohol concentration of .08, which carries a maximum sentence of one year and/or a $3,000 fine; and two misdemeanor counts of operating a motor vehicle while methamphetamine was present in the blood, which carries a maximum sentence of 90 days and/or $1,000 fine.