A St. Peter man who has spent weeks in jail since his arrest for leading police on a high-speed car chase is moving to a group home for adults with mental disabilities.

It’s a judge’s order everyone agreed with, including the assistant Nicollet County attorney prosecuting 19-year-old Michael Peter Schwermann. During a court hearing Tuesday that attorney, Paul Tannis, told District Judge Todd Westphal the Feb. 11 chase reached the extremes it did because Schwermann doesn’t have the ability to make good decisions under pressure situations.

“I could tell from the beginning he was low functioning, and this was a crime of poor judgment,” Tannis said after the hearing. “I suppose he could do jail time, but I’d rather he go somewhere where he can get some help.”

Although Schwermann has been released from jail, the felony charge of fleeing an officer and misdemeanor traffic citations have not been dropped.

Schwermann has been behind bars since Feb. 11, which is when he was arrested for a high-speed chase that led law enforcement officers from St. Peter to Mankato, then back to St. Peter again. The chase, which reached speeds of 100 mph in town during the Winterfest celebration, started after a St. Peter officer attempted to stop Schwermann for having a burned-out headlight.

The decision to release Schwermann was made by Westphal after he received a report from a Nicollet County social services employee. The report recommended Schwermann be released from jail and placed in an environment where he can learn living skills.

Katie Schwermann has been concerned about her half brother since she found out he was in jail. Using a cell phone, he tried to call her eight times during the chase. She didn’t find out about the calls until after he was arrested near Norseland when his car ran out of gas.

Michael Schwermann should have been placed in a group home a while ago, after he started getting into trouble with police, she said. If that would have happened, the potentially deadly chase wouldn’t have, she added.

Her brother had been living with his father, Heinz Schwermann, who didn’t want to admit his son would need help to live on his own, Katie Schwermann said. Heinz Schwermann died from heart failure in January.

“It’s about time he was put into a group home,” she said after Tuesday’s hearing.

The conditions of Schwermann’s release are that he follow the rules of the group home, look for a job, make future court appearances and not drive.

He was also ordered to cooperate with efforts to have a guardian appointed for him.

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