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DL man arrested for wild driving

A Detroit Lakes man made his first appearance in Becker County District Court Friday on four charges stemming from a highway incident near Detroit Lakes Thursday.

District Judge Thomas Schroeder set bond at $25,000 against Jason MacPherson, 35, of 11080 West Lake Eunice Drive, which was the amount requested by the Becker County Attorney's Office.

MacPherson is charged with one count of felony fleeing a police officer, two gross misdemeanor courts of driving while impaired, and one misdemeanor count of fleeing a police office by means other than a vehicle.

An omnibus hearing was scheduled for May 22. His attorney, Simon George of Detroit Lakes, asked for a $14,000 bond, but that was denied by Schroeder.

MacPherson is currently on probation for a 2005 conviction of felony second-degree criminal damage to property, stemming from his driving a motor vehicle into J&K Marine, of which he is a past co-owner.

Kathy Renney of Detroit Lakes and her daughter and grandson had a close encounter Thursday afternoon with the vehicle allegedly driven by MacPherson on Highway 59 South.

Renney, her daughter, Kristina Cole, and her grandson, Peyton, 3, were southbound in a white 1999 Tahoe when they were nearly driven off the highway by what they described as a wild-eyed man driving a black GMC Yukon.

The man was shirtless, even though the temperature was just 50 degrees, and was driving extremely erratically, according to Renney.

"We were on Highway 59 going south, and we first saw him at that new street across from Willow," she said. "He almost T-boned us there. He didn't stop for the stop sign, but he slowed down and let us go by, then he pulled out behind us. He was all over the road -- then all of a sudden he was right on my bumper. We just pulled over really fast or he would have rammed us -- if I would have put the brakes on, he would have been in my back seat."

They pulled over near the Go Putt and Bump amusement park and she said the man glared at the family with a wild expression as he sped past, nearly grazing their Tahoe.

"He was just totally out of it," Renney said. "I really thought he was just going to ram us right off the road."

The family called police on a cell phone and then ended up following the man as he drove west on County Road 6, which is the way they were also going to get to her daughter's house, Renney said. "All of a sudden, he just hit the accelerator and he was out of sight within seconds."

Police, deputies and troopers responded quickly and arrested MacPherson. The Yukon was seen being towed away from a gravel pit road a few miles west on County Road 6.

An officer who called Renney back for more information told her the man had been arrested.

"He just said they all caught him -- he must have led them on a little bit of a chase," she said.

According to the court complaint, MacPherson tested .28 for alcohol.

The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine, while each gross misdemeanor is one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.

(DL Newspapers reporter Tim Kjos contributed to this story)