homepage logo

High-speed chase in B.E. ends in crash at Seneca

By Staff | Dec 2, 2012

Authorities apprehended a 20-year-old Sibley, Iowa, man following a high-speed chase topping 100 mph within the city limits of Blue Earth on Thanksgiving Day.

Roberto Ayala was taken into custody shortly after crashing into a Seneca Foods building and chased down on foot.

The incident occurred around 4:15 p.m., 45 minutes before the end of Police Chief Tom Fletcher’s shift.

“It’s pretty dangerous anytime that happens. I’m just glad no one got hurt, that’s the main thing,” says Fletcher.

Faribault County Deputy Shane Dulac assisted in the pursuit and says he and state trooper Kyle Froehlich slowed way down near Second Street on Highway 169 when speeds reached more than 105 mph.

He says the two officers could see the stoplights at the intersection of Highway 16 and 169 had turned red.

“The streets were very busy and it was scary. We backed off to ease the pressure on him because he did not have any regard for his safety or anyone else,” says Dulac.

Ayala made his first court appearance in Faribault County District Court on Monday.

He faces three felonies of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, obstruction of legal process and receiving stolen property. All charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Ayala also was charged with fleeing a peace officer by a means other than a motor vehicle and reckless or careless driving, both counts have a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Judge Douglas Richards set bail at a $20,000 surety bond. Ayala also is being held for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

According to a court complaint, Froehlich was westbound on Interstate 90 and spotted a vehicle parked on the shoulder.

The trooper passed the car to check out the license plate number and discovered it had been stolen in Albert Lea.

When he was returning to the vehicle it was westbound traveling at a speed of 96 mph.

Froehlich began pursuing the car, activating the squad’s lights and sirens. At one point, speeds reached 107 mph.

Near County Road 13, Dulac joined the chase and Fletcher was waiting near the Highway 169 exit, where he put “stop sticks” across both lanes.

Ayala reportedly drove on the shoulder to avoid the “stop sticks,” ran the stop sign and accelerated to 110 mph as he headed south toward Blue Earth.

Court papers say Ayala ran the stoplights at the intersection of Highway 169 and Seventh Street and continued south.

Ayala’s car spun out of control after passing under the railroad trestle.

“How he missed hitting two cars was phenomenal. I don’t know how that happened and no one got hurt,” says Dulac.

Froehlich was able to put the car into the ditch, but it drove back out and continued heading south before turning onto a gravel road leading to property owned by Seneca Foods.

After crashing the car into a building, Ayala ran from the scene and was chased by Froehlich on foot and Dulac in his squad car.

The complaint says Dulac used his car twice to try and stop Ayala, but he bounced off and continued running.

In front of the Ag Center building, Dulac fired his taser at Ayala but did not make good contact.

Authorities arrested Ayala after he became tired and laid on the ground.