Trial begins for man accused of fleeing

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Todd Jeffery Brehmer appeared in District Court on Monday on charges that he fled police after a routine traffic stop last September.

On the first day of trial, deputy district attorney Erick Knaus and defense attorney Larry Combs selected a jury, made opening statements and questioned the first witness, police Officer Damien Baynes.

Combs said his client was tired that night and only wanted to go home. Combs said his client had not been drinking and police refused to give him a blood test to check his blood alcohol content.

In his opening statement, deputy district attorney Erick Knaus told the jury Baynes pulled Brehmer over for going 38 mph in a 25-mph zone on Central Park Drive.

During the traffic stop, Knaus said, Baynes smelled alcohol on Brehmer's breath.

Baynes suspected Brehmer of being under the influence of alcohol, testimony showed. When Baynes called for backup and a second officer arrived on the scene, Knaus said, Brehmer fled.

Baynes and the second officer, Dale Coyner, followed Brehmer to his house in the 2300 block of Clubhouse Drive, where the officers arrested Brehmer in his garage after a brief struggle, Knaus said.

Brehmer cut the lower part of his arm. At the hospital, Brehmer asked for a blood test about 3 a.m., more than two hours after the incident began, Knaus said.

The officers said no, Knaus said.

"He had been uncooperative. Calm one minute and excited and energized the next minute," Knaus said.

Combs painted a different picture of what happened. He said Brehmer was just trying to get home after working at his bar, Toys in the Attic. The odor of alcohol came from drinks spilled on him at his bar, which had a dollar draft special that night, Combs said.

"Todd does not go to Toys in the Attic to drink. He spends all night and half the day there working," Combs said.

Brehmer was not under arrest or in the custody of police, Combs said, when he decided to drive home with his driver's license still in Baynes' possession. He drove toward his house, where he knew his wife, Wanda, was home.

"He was frustrated with the way he had been treated and wanted witnesses," Combs said.

Combs said the situation became worse when officers did not allow his wife to talk to him or go with him to the hospital.

"Todd and Wanda believe this nightmare will finally come to an end in this courtroom," Combs told the jury, "and you can make it come to an end with a verdict of not guilty."

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