Charges: Impaired driver fled state troopers at 100 mph, crashed in Maplewood

A 48-year-old Minneapolis man was charged Wednesday with driving impaired and fleeing from state troopers on Christmas night at speeds over 100 mph before crashing on Interstate 35E in Maplewood.

The charges are not the first for Howard Simmons. His license was revoked in August 2012 for driving while impaired, according to the charges filed in Ramsey County District Court.

A trooper first pulled over a Jeep Cherokee after noticing the driver had a phone lit up in his hand on Interstate 694 and Edgerton Street in Little Canada, Minn. During the stop, the trooper said the driver, identified as Simmons, smelled of alcohol.

Simmons locked his vehicle's doors and sped off after troopers asked him to get out of the Cherokee, the charges said. He turned onto I-35E going about 100 mph, but the troopers did not chase him. Rather, the charges said, they followed him for "public safety."

Just north of Larpenteur Avenue, the Jeep smashed into a Nissan Altima, pushing other vehicles into the median. Witnesses told troopers Simmons ran from the Jeep and into northbound lanes of I-35E.

Officers found him in a ditch across from the median and arrested him.

The 30-year-old driver of the other car was treated for neck and arm pain at the site of the crash.

The charges against Simmons are both gross misdemeanors.

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