Drunken driving charges will be filed against a Davenport man driving a stolen semi tractor that led police on a 25-mile chase Monday night along Interstate 80, authorities said.
Elbert L. Karr Jr., 47, of Davenport, was identified as the driver of the semi, which was forced off the road by a Cedar County sheriff’s deputy a few miles north of Atalissa. No serious injuries were reported.
Iowa State Patrol Trooper Byron Nudd said he tried to stop the semi tractor around 10:15 p.m. Monday as it was westbound on I-80 near the Walcott exit. A license plate check indicated the semi had been reported stolen from Davenport.
The chase continued west at speeds of up to 75 mph, authorities said. Nudd said it’s likely the semi tractor had a speed governor that kept it from going any faster.
“We kept ourselves between him and the public, so there was minimal danger,” Nudd said.
Multiple stop sticks were used and punctured the front tires of the semi tractor, but the driver kept going even when he was down to the rims, the patrol said. The driver took Exit 265 and went toward Atalissa before turning onto gravel roads.
The chase ended when a Cedar County sheriff’s deputy struck the semi with a department sport-utility vehicle near the T-intersection of 305th Street and Ivory Avenue. The semi tractor went into the ditch and got stuck.
Karr was immediately taken into custody. He complained of chest pain and was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Nudd said a blood test there showed the presence of alcohol in Karr’s system.
Upon Karr’s release, he will be transported to the Cedar County Jail on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, eluding, operating while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license, authorities said.
Karr has been convicted of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent four times, after incidents in 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2007, according to online court records. He also has convictions for second-degree theft, third-degree burglary, forgery and second-degree arson since 1996.