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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Sergeant Nathan Ludwig

Public Information Officer
Iowa State Patrol

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 nludwig@dps.state.ia.us
(515) 745-2863 - cell
(515) 725-6093 - office

Driver Eludes Troopers, Crashes into Northwest Iowa Casino

Salix, IOWA --- On Monday, November 21, 2011 Iowa State Patrol Troopers were involved in a motor vehicle pursuit that ended when the driver ran into the Winn A Vegas Casino building in Sloan, Iowa.

At approximately 7:59 PM an Iowa State Trooper attempted to assist a motorist that was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 29 near Salix, Iowa.  When the Trooper pulled over, the Plymouth Breeze pulled out onto the interstate.  The driver was not wearing his seatbelt and the car had a paper license plate in the rear window.  The Trooper attempted to stop the car to check on the driver’s welfare, and speak to the driver about wearing his seatbelt.  The driver continued south on I-29 and would not stop.  A pursuit ensued.  The Plymouth continued south into rural Monona County, where Troopers deployed stop sticks which deflated one of the suspect’s tires.  The suspect vehicle then swerved at oncoming Troopers and narrowly missed striking one patrol car.  The suspect vehicle eventually turned into the Winn A Vegas Casino parking lot.  There the driver lost control of his vehicle, striking the casino building.  A Trooper used his vehicle to block the suspect from escape, and then arrested the driver. The suspect has been identified as Robert Bechtel, age 54, from Cherokee, Iowa.  Mr. Bechtel was taken to the Woodbury County Jail and charged with OWI and numerous other traffic charges. 

The Iowa State Patrol was assisted by the Monona and Woodbury County Sheriffs’ Offices.

All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.



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