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Man charged in second incidence of fleeing police in stolen vehicle

A Newport man allegedly stole a pickup truck from the Newport SuperAmerica store parking lot and later crashed it while fleeing from police on Interstate 94.

Damien A. Anderson, 31, was charged recently in Washington County District Court with vehicle theft and fleeing a police officer following an alleged March 17 incident.

According to the court complaint, around 2 a.m. on March 17, a Wisconsin State Patrol officer notified Washington County Sheriff's deputies that she was chasing a stolen vehicle west on Interstate 94, across the Minnesota border.

As deputies were on their way to the pursuit, they got word from a Bayport police officer that the pickup truck had crashed into some trees in West Lakeland Township, and that the truck's occupants had fled on foot into a wooded area, according to the court complaint.

The sheriff's deputies found two men in a field north of the crash site -- Anderson, and Christian Fashingbauer, the complaint says. The Wisconsin state trooper identified Anderson as the driver of the truck -- a 1989 Chevrolet pickup truck that had been reported stolen the day before, according to the court complaint.

Anderson was taken to Regions Hospital, where an investigator interviewed him the day after the accident. He pointed out a bag of clothing next to his hospital bed when asked what he was wearing the night before, the court complaint says. The bag contained a purple Minnesota Vikings jacket. Newport SuperAmerica surveillance video showed the individual who stole the vehicle also wore a purple Minnesota Vikings jacket, according to the court complaint.

Anderson had a plea hearing on the charges March 31.

For the charge of motor vehicle theft, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. For the charge of fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, he faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

Anderson was previously convicted of motor vehicle theft in connection with a similar incident Dec. 7, 2009, in which he fled an officer in a stolen vehicle.