This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Patrick Thomas Maykoski,
Filed November 22, 2005
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K4-03-1635
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Suzanne M.
Senecal-Hill, Assistant State Public Defender,
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Dietzen, Judge.
Appellant challenges his conviction of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, arguing that the evidence is insufficient to convict him of the crime. Because we conclude that the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the jury’s verdict, is sufficient for the jury to convict appellant of fleeing a police officer, we affirm.
On the evening of March 22, 2003, St. Paul Police Officers Brian Hall and Michael Meyer were involved in a traffic stop. While the officers were outside of Hall’s squad car, Officer Meyer heard a loud white Chevy Blazer approach with “monster truck type tires on it with a real aggressive tread” traveling about 30 miles per hour. Officer Hall, who stands about six-feet four-inches tall, saw the driver as he passed by ten feet away at about eye level. Officer Hall identified the driver as appellant Patrick Thomas Maykoski, whom the officer knew by face and name from 10-20 prior encounters. Officer Hall testified at trial that he was 100% sure that the driver was appellant, but he did not include this fact in his supplemental police report because he “did not know that the identification was ever going to be an issue.” Officer Meyer was unable to identify the driver because of a glare cause by the headlights.
When the truck traveled
past him, Officer Meyer noticed a white light emitting from the truck’s
taillight, which constitutes an equipment violation. Officer Meyer followed the truck as it turned
onto another street, pulled up behind it, switched on his emergency lights, and
flashed his spotlight in the truck’s rearview mirror. Officer Meyer could not identify the driver
but did observe that he was a white male wearing a white t-shirt. The truck did not stop and a chase ensued
through the streets of
During the chase, the truck went off the road near a pond; and Officer Meyer positioned his squad car so the truck would have no exit. Officer Meyer shined his spotlight onto the driver’s window of the truck from 40 or 50 feet away. Based on this observation, Officer Meyer testified that he was able to see the driver’s profile for 5-10 seconds and was 95-99% certain that the driver of the truck was appellant. Officer Meyer, like his partner, recognized appellant from 10-20 prior contacts in the community. Officer Meyer did not include this identification in his police report.
Next, the truck drove onto a driveway shared between two houses at a speed of 10-15 miles per hour. When both homeowners came outside to observe what was occurring, the truck sped between the houses and nearly hit both of them. One homeowner pushed the other out of the truck’s way, and in the process of avoiding the truck, fractured his ankle. The homeowner who was pushed aside testified to seeing the driver in the truck. This homeowner looked through the truck’s front windshield and side window from a couple feet away and testified that the driver was a black male with braided hair.
As the truck exited the street, the injured homeowner observed the truck drive over the hood of another car parked about 60 feet away. The injured homeowner testified that he was positive it was a black man driving the truck. He also testified the driver had short hair but that he “wasn’t paying too much attention to it because everything was going so fast.”
The truck continued along the front yards of several houses at a speed of about 10-15 miles per hour. Officer Meyer drove parallel to the truck on the street with a spotlight shining on the interior of the truck. Officer Meyer testified that he was able to observe the driver for approximately 8-12 seconds, including 1-2 seconds in which the driver looked directly at him. Officer Meyer again identified appellant as the driver. Based on this observation, Officer Meyer testified that he was 100% sure appellant was driving the truck. Then the truck hit a chain-linked fence, and the driver exited the vehicle and ran away. Despite setting up a perimeter, the driver was not apprehended. In all, the chase lasted roughly 5-10 minutes and covered about 5 miles.
Appellant was later charged with fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.487, subd. 3 (2002). At the omnibus hearing, appellant moved to suppress evidence of his flight, arguing that the police did not have a reasonable articulable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop. Appellant also moved to suppress testimony of an officer’s observations of appellant in a private residence after the chase had ended, arguing that the officer’s actions constituted an impermissible warrantless search. The district court denied appellant’s motion to suppress evidence of his flight but granted his motion to suppress the officer’s subsequent observations of appellant in a private residence. Following a jury trial, appellant was found guilty of the crime charged. The district court sentenced appellant to the presumptive 19-month term. This appeal follows.
D E C I S I O N
appellant raises one issue. Appellant
argues that the evidence is insufficient for the jury to have concluded that
the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he fled from the police. On a claim of insufficiency of the evidence, this court’s review
is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the
evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is
sufficient to allow the jury to reach its verdict. State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (
the crux of the case was the sufficiency of the evidence regarding the identity
of the driver. To convict a defendant of
fleeing a police officer, the state is required to prove beyond a reasonable
doubt that the “defendant, by means of a motor vehicle, fled or attempted to
flee a peace officer.” 10A Minnesota Practice, CRIMJIG 24.17
(1999); see also Minn. Stat.
§ 609.487, subd. 3 (2002). The
state has the burden of establishing the identity of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. State v.
Appellant argues that grave doubt exists as to whether he was driving the vehicle. Appellant points to the time of night and the speed and commotion involved with the chase. But the jury had the opportunity to consider each of these arguments. Here, there is evidence in the record that the officers witnessed the driver on multiple occasions and at varying speeds. Further, the record shows that the officers collectively had dozens of previous contacts with appellant and were therefore capable of recognizing him. Thus, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the conviction, the officers multiple observations were sufficient to allow the jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant was the driver of the vehicle.
argues that the contradictory eyewitness testimony provides sufficient grounds
to overturn the jury’s verdict. But conflicting
testimony between the two officers and two neighbors is not a sufficient basis
for overturning the jury’s verdict.