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Authorities speak on dangers of pursuits after man accused of 2nd high-speed chase of 2018

Jensen was charged earlier this year in a similar case in Cerro Gordo County where authorities said he eluded police at speeds around 110 miles per hour before crashing into a power pole.

Posted: Sep 19, 2018 6:10 AM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 8:47 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - A pursuit that reached speeds of 100 miles per hour in Cerro Gordo and Worth counties resulted in an Osage man facing numerous charges.
Eric Jensen, 37, is facing charges of felony eluding, possession of a controlled substance, third or subsequent offense, driving while barred, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving while suspended.
The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office said it tried to make a traffic stop at 12:21 a.m. Wednesday on B20 near the intersection of Mallard Ave.
The vehicle drove away at a high rate of speed and a pursuit which reached speeds of 100 miles per hour a few times began.
The pursuit lasted “several minutes,” according to authorities, and stretched into southern Worth County.
The vehicle eventually left the roadway on Highway 9 west of Hanlontown and went into a cornfield where a short foot pursuit ensued.
Two Cerro Gordo County Sheriff vehicles were damaged and a 2002 Chrysler Town and Country van sustained front end damage.
The Worth County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol assisted in the pursuit.

Jensen was found to be in possession of meth, police said. 
Jensen was charged earlier this year in a similar case in Cerro Gordo County where authorities said he eluded police at speeds around 110 miles per hour before crashing into a power pole.

Eric Jensen

With these two pursuits, KIMT spoke with law enforcement about what goes into making the decision to go on a pursuit.

In his his 35 years with the Cerro Gordo County Sheriffs Department, Chief Deputy David Hepperly has been in some high speed chases.

"All pursuits are dangerous for the people that we're pursuing, for the general public, and for our officers."

But he notes that there are certain guidelines and protocol as to when it's OK to give chase, such as time of day, location, speeds and weather conditions.

"If it's a minor violation, the risk of a pursuit is not worth continuing, especially if we know who the driver may be."

Trooper and Public Resource Officer Keith Duenow with the Iowa State Patrol has also been in pursuits in his 13 years with the agency, and says troopers must also follow certain protocols, and those can change at a moment's notice.

"They just initially weren't stopping, going 70 mph on the interstate, and now they've decided to ramp it up to 100-110 mph, well that changes the safety factor. If they decide they're going to turn on to a gravel road or they're going to go into a town, that changes the safety factor."

He says a pursuit can be cancelled by the officer or their supervisor if there is a justified reason.

"Seeing as one of the first things we do is notify a supervisor, they are always also monitoring the pursuit as we call out the speeds, the locations. And they at any point in time can order us to terminate the pursuit."

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