A Duluth teenager allegedly involved in a high-speed chase that was linked to a drive-by shooting in Duluth made his initial appearance in Douglas County Circuit Court Monday, Aug. 3.
Patrick Wilson Battees, 17, faces felony counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety and attempting to flee or elude an officer and a misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm while intoxicated. Cash bail of $25,000 was set for Battees, and he was ordered not to use or possess a dangerous weapon, alcohol or controlled substances.
Superior police officers were advised shortly after noon Friday, July 31, that a suspect in a drive-by shooting in Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood had just fled towards Superior in a white Toyota 4Runner. Officer Brad Esler saw a vehicle matching that description coming down Belknap Street near the Bong Bridge. The vehicle sped away when Esler activated his lights.
Esler estimated at one point the vehicle was traveling in excess of 75 mph in a 35-mph zone on Tower Avenue. The chase continued into the Walgreens parking lot, where the suspect vehicle hit a pole, then down North 21st Street, with the vehicle repeatedly crossing the double yellow line to pass traffic. Esler reported the suspect vehicle was going more than 80 mph in the 25 mph residential area.
The vehicle plowed through a gate at the water treatment facility on Texas Avenue, then drove through fencing into the backyard of a house on Billings Lane before getting stuck in a depression west of the Billings Park Civic Center parking lot.
The driver of the vehicle, identified as Battees, appeared to be intoxicated. A preliminary breath test showed a result of 0.115.
Officers who searched the vehicle reported finding a handgun magazine with live ammunition in the driver's door compartment, a loaded semi-automatic handgun on the floorboards underneath the steering wheel and a sandwich baggie containing suspected marijuana outside the driver's door.
The most serious charge, first degree recklessly endangering safety, carries a maximum penalty of 12 years and six months imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000. Battees’ next court appearance was set for Aug. 12.