146-mph chase suspect in court
By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS – A Georgia man accused of leading authorities on a high-speed chase through two counties appeared in Iron County Trial Court on Monday for a preliminary examination.
Karl Friedrich-Johannes Dresch, 33, of Crawfordville, Ga. was bound over to the circuit court level, where he entered not guilty pleas to his charges.
He faces one felony count of fleeing and eluding-fourth degree, one misdemeanor count of operating while intoxicated, and one misdemeanor count of open intoxicants in a vehicle.
Since Dresch is listed as a habitual offender-second, he could spend up to three years in prison if convicted.
A pre-trial in the matter is scheduled for Aug. 5.
During the preliminary examination, details about the high-speed chase were revealed.
Deputy Abe Varoni of the Iron County Sheriff’s Department testified that he was dispatched to the incident at about 8 p.m. on June 7.
Florence County officials had notified Iron County officials that a red sports car was traveling at high speeds from Florence to the Michigan-Wisconsin border via U.S. 2.
A Florence County deputy had previously attempted to stop the vehicle on County Road N for speeding, but it accelerated.
Varoni said that he waited at Airport Road in Mastodon Township until he saw the car pass by. He claimed that it was traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour.
According to Varoni, he followed the red car as it continued on U.S. 2 then turned onto County Road 424.
The car finally stopped at the Alpha village limit, where the driver, identified as Dresch, surrendered to authorities, said Varoni.
Dresch’s attorney Geoffrey Lawrence questioned whether or not his client was aware that he was being chased.
Lawrence pointed out that Varoni testified that he did not see the pursuing Florence County squad car when he pulled out of Airport Road.
In addition, Lawrence noted that Varoni had said that he was about 300 yards away from Dresch’s vehicle throughout the chase.
“There’s a curve between Airport Road and 424, and curves and hills on 424 until it straightens out by Alpha,” said Lawrence.
Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell argued that since Varoni was able to see Dresch’s vehicle for much of the chase, Dresch probably saw Varoni’s squad car.
Judge C. Joseph Schwedler agreed, and found that there was probable cause to bind Dresch over.
Dresch is also facing related felony charges in Florence County.
There, he is charged with one felony count of reckless endangerment-first degree, one felony count of flee or elude an officer, and 17 different traffic citations.
If convicted on those charges, Dresch could spend up to 16 years in prison.
In the criminal complaint from Florence County, a Florence deputy reported that Dresch’s Pontiac Trans Am was traveling at speeds of 125 to 130 miles per hour while on U.S. 2 west of Florence.
The deputy also claimed that Dresch passed multiple vehicles while in no-passing zones, and nearly hit a motorcycle and a pickup truck.
While in Iron County and away from traffic, the Florence deputy clocked his own speed at 145 miles per hour. He said that even at that speed, he was not gaining any ground on Dresch’s vehicle.
According to the complaint, once Dresch was in custody, he told deputies that he was “just out cruising” and did not know that they were pursuing him.
Deputies believed that Dresch was intoxicated at the time. They discovered several empty cans of beer and two partially-full bottles of liquor in the vehicle.
Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.