Clayton man's chase goes six miles at speeds reaching 110 mph
by Greg Marsten Leader staff writer AMERY – A fast approach to an intersection on US Hwy. 8 one evening over the weekend led to an officer attempting a stop, with the driver later leading police on a six-mile high-speed chase with velocities topping 110 mph before the driver was wrangled in. According to a probable cause report filed with the Polk County Sheriff's Department, a deputy was traveling on Hwy. 8 at around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, near the south junction of Hwy. 46 when the deputy noticed a car approaching the intersection from the south at a high rate of speed, almost missing the stop sign and going into the busy intersection. The officer followed and attempted to stop the car, which initially pulled over but then sped away, leading police on a pursuit down Hwy. 8 near 110th Street. The chase then went east to 120th Street, where the car reached over 110 mph before coming to the T-intersection at CTH I. By then, several squad cars were involved, and they began to coordinate and box the driver in, as they set up tire-deflation devices. When the noose tightened, the driver reportedly swerved into the lane of an approaching squad car, threatening a head-on collision. It was a short time later that the chase came to a halt in the parking lot of the Paradise Landing, just east of Balsam Lake. The driver was taken into custody and later identified as Steven L. Johnson, 21, Clayton. He now faces a litany of charges, including felony fleeing/eluding and multiple misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, second offense, as well as marijuana and paraphernalia possession. "The driver admitted to swerving at the police," Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson said in a statement. Steven L. Johnson appeared before Judge Jeffery Anderson on Monday, March 4, where he set a $2,500 cash bond, as well as a Thursday, March 7, preliminary hearing, where the judge will determine if there is enough evidence to move Johnson on to trial. He remains in jail until he has a clean drug test.