The 28-year-old Brainerd man — who led authorities on a high-speed chase June 1 that resulted in the suspect’s and a police officer’s vehicle getting stuck in the railroad tracks — has been arrested.
Michael Flannigan was arrested on a county warrant at 9:47 a.m. Friday in Aitkin County and is being housed in Crow Wing County Jail, reported the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.
Flannigan appeared Monday in Crow Wing County District Court in front of Judge Richard Zimmerman. Charges against Flannigan, filed June 4, include two felony counts of fifth-degree possession of marijuana, felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, misdemeanor driving after revocation and a petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
The felony counts of fifth-degree possession of marijuana each carry a penalty of 10 years and/or $20,000 in fines, with a six-month mandatory minimum sentence.
Zimmerman set Flannigan’s next court hearing for 1:30 p.m. July 3 and set bail at $50,000 with conditions and $100,000 without conditions.
According to the complaint filed against Flannigan, a Brainerd officer was on a routine patrol on the 600 block of Northeast First Avenue at 5:29 p.m. on June 1, when he observed a vehicle on Evergreen Avenue whose owner had a revoked driver’s license. The vehicle was not owned by Flannigan. When the officer activated the squad car’s emergency lights Flannigan fled, crossing Highway 210, continuing on 10th Avenue, turning east onto Highway 25 and then on to a driveway on Red Pine Road. The suspect continued down the driveway for one-fourth of a mile before driving through a fence separating private property from railroad-owned property. The officer continued to pursue the vehicle as it drove east/northeast parallel to the railroad tracks. The officer pursued the suspect until the terrain along the tracks came to such a steep grade that the officer couldn’t follow any longer.
Brainerd officers, Baxter K-9, Crow Wing County Sheriff’s deputies, Minnesota State Patrol and DNR conservation officers assisted in tracking the defendant for several hours, but were unable to locate him.
According to Baxter police, Baxter Officer Matt Maier and his K-9 dog, Gator, pursued the suspect into the swamp. After traveling about a mile into the swamp, Gator suffered life-threatening medical issues and had to be carried out of the swamp through chest-deep water at times. The dog was taken to Lakeland Veterinary Hospital and given life-saving treatment. The vet at Lakeland said the dog was close to expiring.
Maier said Monday that Gator is in good condition and went back to work the Monday after the incident.