ST. AUGUSTA -- Authorities have released more details on a high speed chase that took officers through three St. Cloud area cities Friday.

A Stearns County Sheriff's Deputy was on routine patrol when he conducted a license plate check on a 2002 Jaguar. The deputy had learned the owner's license was revoked and knew the owner through previous contacts as a Drug Enforcement Officer. The driver, 32-year-old James Benson of Cokato, was known to be violent toward police and had a history of carrying guns in the vehicle.

When the deputy tried to stop Benson, Benson allegedly accelerated and led officers on a chase.

Police say Benson then caused extensive damage to a farm as he pulled into the property to try to elude the authorities. The chase continued on County Road 7, through St. Augusta, through St. Cloud and into Sauk Rapids reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles-per-hour.

Officers were finally able spin out the car at Highway 15 and Benton County Drive after Benson had avoided stop strips laid out by police along the way. Authorities say Benson stopped briefly, then rammed a sheriff's cruiser in an attempt to get away.

Several officers pulled Benson from the car and brought him to custody.

No one was hurt, but as many as four Stearns County Sheriff's cruisers were damaged. There is no damage estimate yet.

Benson is jailed on several charges including numerous outstanding warrants and felony warrants issued by the Department of Corrections.

Photo by's Bob Hughes
Photo by's Bob Hughes