One teen enters plea in theft, chase case

BLUE EARTH – One teenager pleaded guilty Monday while a second will have another day in court in a case involving two boys who broke out of Elmore Academy this summer.

Roberto Reyes and Garrett Zabel, both 17, each face three charges, including use of deadly force against a peace officer or correctional employee; fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle; and theft of a motor vehicle.

They are accused of leading officers from multiple agencies on a high-speed chase Aug. 10 through two counties and smashing several squad cars before being apprehended.

Reyes pleaded guilty to fleeing an officer and theft of a motor vehicle. Charges of use of deadly force against a peace officer were dismissed in a plea deal. Reyes has been returned to a juvenile facility in Red Wing to face charges in other counties.

Meanwhile, Zabel’s attorney, Bill Grogin, requested a pre-trial hearing, which Judge Douglas Richards set for 10 a.m. Nov. 4.

According to a report from the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office:

On Aug. 10, a deputy received word that a pickup bearing the logo of ITC had been stolen from a residence in Elmore.

While en route to Elmore from Blue Earth, but still in Blue Earth, the deputy met a vehicle matching the description of the stolen pickup. He turned around to follow the vehicle, and attempted to stop it near the intersection of East Street and Upper Valley Drive.

The vehicle fled.

Prior to the attempted stop, the deputy had activated his emergency lights. When the vehicle accelerated and fled, he activated his siren and maintained activated lights while pursuing.

The vehicle led the deputy on a chase that soon turned east on County Road 44, then south on County Road 11, to County Road 16, then west on County Road 16 (where it almost hit a pickup truck pulling a boat), then west on Sixth Street, to Holland Street, then north to First Street, then east to where the fleeing vehicle almost hit another deputy.

The vehicle then went east to Main Street, then north to County Road 6, to Highway 169, then south and back toward Blue Earth.

The driver then went into the McDonald’s drive-in the wrong way, struck a State Patrol car and a Winnebago squad car in the McDonald’s lot, as well as striking a deputy’s squad car.

The vehicle then continued fleeing, ending back up on Highway 169 northbound, going through Winnebago, through Amboy, and being stopped on the south edge of Vernon Center by stop sticks.

The duo fled into the woods on the south edge of Vernon Center. Reyes was apprehended about 4:22 a.m. walking north on Highway 169. Zabel was apprehended later.

Zabel and Reyes had been at YSI and decided to escape or flee, in part because Reyes believed he was going to be sent to a five- to eight-month correctional program.

Both Zabel and Reyes planned their flight from YSI as a joint undertaking, and both left at about the same time and followed the same prearranged plan.

Both were together at an Elmore residence, from which they took a pickup.