By Dan Nienaber
The Free Press
A 21-year-old Austin man who beat up a woman he met at a Mankato bar, robbed a man he passed on a street as he was leaving town, then fled from officers who attempted to pull him over was released from jail Wednesday after reaching a plea deal.
Jordan Lee Hernandez Cox pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree robbery, third-degree assault and drunken driving. The plea agreement dismissed additional robbery and assault charges, along with a charge of fleeing police in a motor vehicle. Cox had been in the Blue Earth County Jail since his July 17 arrest.
Cox and three friends drove to Mankato July 16 to go to downtown bars. Cox, 21-year-old Jose Cecilio Chavez Jr. of Austin and one of the other friends ended up leaving a bar with two women at about 1:15 a.m. July 17.
The trouble started at an apartment in the Cherry Ridge complex because one of the women didn't know how to play a dice game, according to the criminal complaints filed against Cox. He threw a beer at a wall, which resulted in one of the women leaving the apartment. Cox followed that woman out the door, punched and kicked her until Chavez got him to stop, then left her bleeding in the hallway.
The woman called a friend for a ride to the hospital. The incident was reported by hospital staff who called police at about 3 a.m. July 17.
It was just after 2 a.m., just a short time after Cox, Chavez and the third man left Cherry Ridge, when police received a 911 call from another victim. He said he was sitting in his car in the 1200 block of North Fourth Street, waiting for a co-worker, when an SUV pulled up. Two men, later identified as Cox and Chavez, got out, demanded money and started punching him when he said he didn't have any cash. They eventually pulled him out of the car and kicked him while he was on the ground.
When the SUV matching the vehicle desription turned east on Adams Street, a state trooper turned on his lights to stop it. Instead the driver sped up, ran a stop light, turned north on Highway 22 and east on Highway 14. The driver reached speeds of 100 mph as the trooper called Janesville police and asked them to put tire deflation devices on the highway.
The chase continued, still reaching speeds of 80 mph, after one of the SUV's tires was flattened. The vehicle chase stopped after the tire burned away, but the driver got out and attempted to run. Cox was arrested after he was chased down and zapped with a tasing device.
Assistant Blue Earth County Attorney Chris Rovney said Cox was only facing about 29 months in prison for the incident under sentencing guidelines. So, with "good" time, the time Cox has spent in jail since his arrest would have kept him from going to prison for much longer.
A plea hearing has been scheduled for Friday for Chavez.