An Austin woman is in custody after driving around a squad car blocking off the scene of a fire early Wednesday morning, and then leading authorities on a vehicle chase that ultimately ended near Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Austin.
Officers from the Austin Police Department responded to a report of a fire at the Japan Panda restaurant near the intersection of West Oakland Avenue and 14th St. SW shortly before midnight on Tuesday, February 14th. Chief of Police Dave McKichan stated in a report that while on the scene, a vehicle being driven by 33-year old Samantha Ricke of Austin drove around a squad car that was blocking off the street. Chief McKichan stated that Ricke’s vehicle entered the fire scene and drove up to one of the active fire hoses before stopping. Officers tried to communicate with Ricke, who ultimately reversed at a high rate of speed squealing the vehicle’s tires before she exited the scene. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, McKichan stated that Ricke stopped initially before once again leaving while spinning her tires. Officers followed with lights and sirens on, trying to once again get the vehicle to stop, which it did on 8th Ave NW. However, Chief McKichan stated that Ricke again fled and due to the speed at this time, the Austin Police Department officers ended the pursuit.
The Mower County Sheriff’s Office located Ricke’s vehicle almost immediately and attempted to stop it. McKichan indicated that Austin Police Department officers assisted Sheriff’s Department Deputies in ultimately arresting Ricke in a parking lot at the intersection of 1st Dr. NW and 4th St. NW near Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Austin. Ricke was placed in the Mower County jail after being processed for a suspected DWI by the Mower County Sheriff’s Office, and Ricke is being held awaiting charging by the Mower County Attorney’s Office.