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Drunk Driver Who Beat Trooper With Taser Gets 44 Months In Prison

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- An Akeley man will spend 44 months in prison for a violent attack on a state trooper.

Elijah Knowles, 26, was stopped for drunk driving in October last year. He lashed out during his arrest and it was all caught on dash cam video.

It started like a typical traffic stop. Knowles was serving on Highway 34 near Park Rapids around 1:30 a.m. and was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.

He failed the field sobriety test and had a blood alcohol level of .14, according to the breathalyzer. The female officer prepared to arrest him, but Knowles had other plans.

"He wasn't going to listen to that," said Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne. "He was going to do it his way."

Dearstyne relied on the dash cam video during Knowles' trial in February, and it showed a fight over the trooper's taser. Then it showed Knowles pulling her into a ditch.

"It makes you wonder if you are going to see her alive again," said Dearstyne.

During the struggle off camera, Knowles repeatedly hit the trooper with her taser and tried to fire it at her head.  The safety kept it from going off.

The trooper was on her own, fighting for nearly two minutes as Knowles even tried to go for the gun. Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said her training helped save her life.

"Our training is specifically for the folks who are working in the rural areas," Roeske said. "They are totally self-reliant.  Typically, there's not going to be back up that's very close."

Another officer arrived and Knowles stopped the attack. He jumped into his own car and took off down Highway 34.

Knowles took officers on a 25-minute chase, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, circling through neighboring towns and county roads.

He ignored several stop signs, and police believe he tried to ram their vehicles.

"I used to be a police officer, a number of years ago, and this is one of the more serious chases that I've ever seen," Dearstyne said.

Knowles eventually crashed his vehicle, ending the chase. A jury found him guilty on five felony charges.

A traffic stop that could have ended with 30 days in jail, became nearly four years in prison.

"Alcohol affects people in many different ways," Dearstyne said.

The trooper needed several staples in her head and is now back at work. This case surprised prosecutors because Knowles didn't have a violent criminal history, until now.

Dearstyne said when Knowles testified during his trial, he believed the officers set him up and were out get him.

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