MANKATO — A man whose driving caught the attention of a Mankato police officer early Saturday morning is facing felony charges for allegedly threatening a woman, keeping her in his car against her will and leading the officer on a high-speed chase on Third Avenue.
The officer reported it was about 1:35 a.m. when the car first caught his attention while he was patrolling North Riverfront Drive. It was traveling on West Lafayette Street, crossed Riverfront Drive and continued north on Third Avenue.
After the car switched lanes twice, the passenger door opened for several seconds, the officer reported. A high-speed chase reaching 100 mph started on the north side of the Highway 14 intersection after the officer attempted to stop the driver for speeding. The car stopped quickly, turned into a driveway access for a business, drove northeast across a lawn and traveled past a large building before crashing through a wire fence.
Jaime Soto Jr., 23, of Le Center was arrested at gunpoint after he stopped in a field, got out of the car and started walking toward the officer, the officer reported. A crying woman was told to sit down with her hands on her head until another officer arrived at the scene.
She later told the second officer she had jumped out of Soto's car as it traveled past the building. She had a large abrasion on her shoulder and estimated the car was traveling about 25 mph, according to the criminal complaint charging Soto with stalking, false imprisonment, drug possession, fleeing police and drunken driving.
The woman said she had been dating Soto and broke off the relationship. He approached her at a downtown Mankato bar while she was with friends and later offered to give her a ride home. She said she realized he might be intoxicated after she got in the car.