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Stolen car incident, high speed chase lead to 51-month sentence

Dale Harrison Bedell, 30, of Cloquet was sentenced in Carlton County Court on Wednesday to 51 months in prison in relation to a stolen car incident and high speed chase that took place on Dec. 13, 2010. Bedell was found guilty of one felony DWI c...

Dale Harrison Bedell, 30, of Cloquet was sentenced in Carlton County Court on Wednesday to 51 months in prison in relation to a stolen car incident and high speed chase that took place on Dec. 13, 2010. Bedell was found guilty of one felony DWI count of operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08. Five other felony counts, one gross misdemeanor count and two misdemeanor counts against Bedell were dismissed.

Judge Dale Wolf also ruled that Bedell pay $5,244.95 in restitution to the owner of the car he stole.

According to the complaint filed on the incident, Carlton County Dispatch received an "attempt to locate" communication regarding a red Dodge Stratus stolen from the West Duluth area, thought to be headed toward Cloquet, and officers were asked to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

At 7:42 a.m., Sgt. Fred Petite of the Carlton County Sheriff's Department reported a suspicious vehicle was being operated by a seemingly intoxicated male, later identified as Bedell, near Fond du Lac Gas and Grocery in west Cloquet. The license plate number of the vehicle was called in and it was found to be the vehicle stolen from West Duluth. As Bedell attempted to get into the vehicle at the gas station, Petite parked his squad car directly behind the vehicle in an attempt to contain it.

Bedell, however, attempted to drive the vehicle forward and when he discovered that was not possible he put it into reverse and rammed Petite's squad car with excessive force. He then maneuvered the car forward once again, jumping over a small cement pillar and striking a support beam supporting the convenience store's overhang.

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Bedell then sped away westbound on Big Lake Road with Petite in pursuit. Bedell was reportedly driving extremely recklessly and nearly hit several oncoming cars, losing control several times and almost striking a power pole. He then headed north on Brevator Road, where he failed to negotiate a turn at the corner of Belich Road and launched his vehicle into a swampy area filled with snow.

At that point, Bedell attempted to run away from Petite, who was by then being assisted by several Fond du Lac Police officers, on foot. When the officers caught up with Bedell, he had to be tazed before he could be subdued.

Officers at the scene noted that Bedell appeared extremely intoxicated. He was taken to Community Memorial Hospital after claiming he had been injured in the crash. While there, he consented to a blood draw and several sobriety tests were administered, all of which he reportedly failed. He was then taken to the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center.

Subsequent investigation revealed that Bedell had a prior alcohol-related driver's license revocation from Jan. 7, 2001, and his driving privileges were canceled as inimical to public safety in the state of Minnesota. His record also revealed four prior driving under the influence charges and/or convictions in the state of Wisconsin, several of them within the past 10 years. Because of Bedell's previous record in this regard, the Dec. 13 incident was charged out as a felony DWI, along with the other related charges.

At Wednesday's sentencing, Judge Wolf asked Bedell if it was accurate to say that he started drinking when he was 13 years old and has been in trouble ever since.

"Yes," replied Bedell in a low voice.

"That is a very sad comment on how you've run your life," said Wolf, who cautioned Bedell to amend his ways before he ruins the rest of his life.

According to sentencing guidelines, Bedell will serve two-thirds of his sentence and then be placed on a five-year conditional release period. He was remanded into the custody of the Carlton County Sheriff's Office for commitment to the Minnesota State Commissioner of Public Safety to begin serving out his sentence.

Related Topics: CARLTON COUNTYCRIME
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