A St. Paul man has been charged with fleeing police during an apparent race on Interstate 35E in Mendota Heights, videotaping the event while he drove as fast as 120 mph.
Soe Paing, 25, is charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, a felony with a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of a $1,500 fine.
Paing is also facing a misdemeanor charge of careless driving, which has a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A Mendota Heights police officer was northbound on I-35E just after 12:30 a.m. July 22 when he spotted several vehicles behind him that he thought might be racing, according to the criminal complaint.
The officer pulled off on the shoulder and turned off his headlights. One of the cars passed the squad car at an estimated speed of 120 mph.
The officer turned on his squad car’s emergency lights and began to follow the car, which initially slowed, but then accelerated away and exited onto Highway 13.
As the car, driven by Paing, turned off onto Highway 13, the officer activated his siren. Paing continued to accelerate down the exit ramp, but stopped at the red light at the end of the ramp.
When the light turned green, Paing went through the intersection, briefly accelerated but then pulled off on the right shoulder and stopped.
Officers removed Paing, who smelled of alcohol, from the car, according to the complaint. He provided a breath sample, which showed a blood-alcohol content of .083 percent.
Paing was taken to the Mendota Heights police station, and his car was towed. An officer searched the car and found a video camera on the floor in the front; on the camera was a video shot from inside the car just before Paing was stopped by police.
The video included shots of the car’s speedometer, which showed Paing driving at speeds up to 100 mph, according to the complaint. It also shows the point at which Paing passed the officer’s parked squad car, at which point Paing yelled, “Police!” and turned off the camera.