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Drunk driver hits Morris home, hides from police in closet

MORRIS - A drunk driver crashed into a Morris home while fleeing from police after a traffic stop last Friday, Nov. 2, hid in a friend's closet to avoid apprehension, then tried to flee authorities again while being treated at Stevens Community Medical Center.

Twenty-seven-year-old Taylor Curtiss Nelson of Littlefork, Minn., faces two felony charges related to the incident - fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and criminal damage to property - along with a second degree DWI, two counts of fleeing a police officer, and traffic violations for driving with an open bottle and not carrying proof of insurance.

The incident began just before 1:00 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 when Investigator Jason Reed of the Morris police department made a routine traffic stop for a suspected drunk driver. Before pulling over in the parking lot of DeToy's, Reed observed the driver of a pickup truck swerving back and forth on East 5th Street before turning onto Atlantic Avenue, the report states.

When Reed pulled over the driver, Nelson, he smelled alcohol and noted Nelson's slurred speech. Reed also saw an open can of beer in the front console and an open case of beer in the back seat. When Reed asked Nelson to step out of the car to take a field sobriety test, Nelson put his truck in drive and fled from the scene, the complaint notes.

Reed followed Nelson, but eventually lost him in the streets of Morris. When Reed eventually found Nelson's truck, it was crashed into the front entryway of Mary Krattenmaker's home at 110 E. 4th Street. Nelson's door was open, and the airbag was deployed and splashed with blood, but Nelson was nowhere to be found - other than his shoes, which were found in Krattenmaker's backyard, the complaint said.

After photographing the accident scene and ensuring that Krattenmaker was safe, law enforcement officers began contacting Nelson's acquaintances, including a man he had been drinking with that evening, 29-year-old Daniel Jackson.

According to the complaint, Jackson told officers that after an evening drinking Nelson had been so drunk that they didn't think it was safe for him to drive. They paid for a cab ride home with Morris Area Transit, but shortly after getting into the taxi Nelson jumped out and ran away.

By around 3:00 a.m., an acquaintance of Nelson's told officers she had spoken with Nelson, who said he was hidden and waiting for a ride to possibly flee to Oklahoma, the complaint states. Officers had Nelson's roommate make contact to find out where he was hiding.

Eventually, officers tracked Nelson to a home on Park Avenue where he was found hiding in a woman's bedroom closet. After being taken to Stevens Community Medical Center, Nelson tried to flee again, but as stopped by authorities before leaving the hospital, the complaint said.

Nelson appeared before Judge Gerald Seibel on Tuesday, who set bail at $15,000 without conditions or $8,000 with conditions. Seibel ordered Nelson to remain in Minnesota, not use alcohol or controlled substances, surrender his license place, and stay out of bars and liquor stores.