A Rochester man is facing felony charges after he allegedly stole a vehicle and led law enforcement on a chase through Waseca and Steele counties, eventually crashing into a cornfield in the latter.

Sriudorn Phaivan, 41, was charged Friday in Steele County District Court with theft of a motor vehicle and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. The charges stem from an incident that took place in September.

According to the criminal complaint, the Rochester Police Department were alerted on Sept. 23 of a vehicle stolen from a gas station. Surveillance video allegedly shows Phaivan entering the vehicle reported stolen at the pump while the owner was inside. The owner of the vehicle reportedly told police that he accidentally left his keys on the bathroom sink inside the gas station.

Phaivan had recently updated his registration on the Predatory Offender Registration on Sept. 8 as having moved to the city of Rochester. Police used his registration photo to identify him in the video from the gas station, according to the report.

On Sept. 25, a Waseca police officer reportedly observed a vehicle driving quickly cut pull out in front of the squad car. When the officer ran the plates, they came back as belonging to the stolen vehicle from Rochester. The officer allegedly followed the vehicle east on Highway 14 into Steele County on County Road 18 before attempting to initiate a traffic stop.

The vehicle then sped up and led law enforcement on a chase, reaching speeds over 90 mph, according to court documents. At one point, the vehicle allegedly turned around and drove past the exit back onto Highway 14, where the Steele County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota State Patrol joined the pursuit. According to the complaint, the vehicle then crashed into a cornfield.

The vehicle was found unoccupied and law enforcement began searching the ditch to see if the suspect had been ejected during the crash, according to the report, and the Owatonna Fire Department was called in to assist in the search for the suspect. A firefighter reportedly heard a groan coming from the cornfield, and officers located Phaivan, who was injured.

Mayo paramedics were cleared to enter the scene and searched Phaivan’s pockets, locating a hypodermic needle and $30, according to court documents. Phaivan was then transported to the Owatonna Hospital.

At that time, officers confirmed that Phaivan had an active warrant for his arrest from the Minnesota Department of Corrections. He is currently in custody at the state prison in Oak Park Heights.

Phaivan has a sordid criminal record with convictions dating back to 2001 in multiple counties. He has two felony convictions in Wright County for criminal sexual conduct with a minor from 2010 and 2014. In 2019, Phaivan was convicted of theft of a motor vehicle in Ramsey County.

Phaivan’s first court appearance in Steele County is scheduled for Dec. 27.

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