March 3, 2014

Man charged after 25 minute pursuit

By Kyle Ocker
The Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Editor's note: A dash cam video of this pursuit is available at the bottom of this story.

A Centerville man has been charged after a Sunday morning chase through Centerville and Rathbun.

Mitchell Rex Irwin, 51, of Centerville, was charged Sunday evening with assault on a peace officer, eluding and multiple traffic offenses after police say he led law enforcement in a 25 minute pursuit Sunday morning.

According to the complaint and affidavit filed by Centerville police officer Tyson Howard, the chase began at approximately 1:22 a.m. on Feb. 23.

Howard stated in his complaint and affidavit that he was in the area of North 18th Street and East Oak Street because another officer had called in a vehicle attempting to elude him.

Howard said he observed a Ford Ranger traveling east on Oak Street jump a curb and make a left hand turn on North 18th Street to go north. Howard believed the Ranger was the vehicle the other officer was attempting to locate, so he caught up with the vehicle and activated his emergency lights.

Howard was then advised the Ford Ranger wasn’t the vehicle the other officer was attempting to locate and deactivated his emergency lights.

The affidavit continues to state that the Ford Ranger then pulled into the middle turning lane and traveled in that lane for three blocks before making a quick left hand turn onto Haynes Avenue without using a turn signal. The officer then decided to conduct a traffic stop and turned on his emergency lights again.

The vehicle, according to court documents, failed to yield to both lights and sirens and then led officers on a high speed pursuit that eventually ended near Rathbun.

The affidavit says the vehicle drove through three residential yards, business parking lots and through the front yard of Pizza Hut. Court documents say when the vehicle pulled out of Pizza Hut’s front yard, it swerved aggressively at Detective Brandon Knapp’s vehicle, causing Knapp to take evasive action.

The vehicle crashed in the 20000 block of 470th Street, near Rathbun. Police say Irwin then fled into a nearby field. Police arrested Irwin several hours after the pursuit ended, at approximately 8:15 p.m. Sunday.

Police chief Tom Demry stated they were able to locate Irwin because he was listed as the registered owner of the Ford Ranger.

The complaint states the vehicle traveled at speeds up to 80 mph during the pursuit. Irwin has been charged with assault on a peace officer with a dangerous weapon, a class D felony, eluding a law enforcement vehicle, an aggravated misdemeanor, as well as 11 simple misdemeanor traffic violations.