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High-speed chase yields drug charges for Iowa pair

John Mangalonzo, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –

Two people face habitual offender and enhanced drug charges after leading authorities on a high-speed pursuit through three jurisdictions last month.

The charges stem from items consistent with meth making were found inside their vehicle.

Another suspect, who jumped out of the vehicle during the chase, remains at large.

Byron Dean Foster, 31, of Exline in Appanoose County was charged with felony eluding and two counts of possession of meth precursors. Des Moines County prosecutors tagged the charges as subsequent offenses and labelled Foster as a habitual offender.

Prosecutors cited Foster’s conviction for possession of meth with intent to manufacture in 1999, controlled substance violation in 2003 and assault on a peace officer in 2005, all in Appanoose County, as basis for the enhanced charges.

An alleged accomplice, Laurenn Elaine Beach, 19, of Burlington was a passenger and faces charges of felony eluding, obstructing prosecution and two counts of possession of meth precursors.

She also was booked on a Des Moines County warrant for two counts of fifth-degree theft, a Scott County warrant for second-degree theft and a Johnson County warrant for second-degree theft.

The high-speed chase started Jan. 17 when officers noted the Ford Explorer driven by Foster in the 900 block of South 12th Street had expired registration tags.

After the vehicle was pulled over, an unidentified male passenger jumped out and ran, leading to a request for additional officers.

As an officer approached the vehicle, Foster drove away, beginning a chase through the south part of town.

With speeds reaching approximately 60 mph, Foster ran stop signs and struck a vehicle eastbound on Harrison Avenue. The pursuit continued south on Summer Street, leaving city limits with speeds reaching nearly 100 mph.

As the vehicle traveled south, several items were thrown from Foster’s vehicle, authorities said.

Suspected meth making items also allegedly were tossed when the vehicle turned west onto Iowa 16 from U.S. 61.

Sheriff’s deputies from Des Moines and Lee counties assisted Burlington police as Foster’s vehicle left the road near Iowa 16 and 353rd Avenue.

When the Explorer stopped, Foster and Beach jumped out and fled in a wooded area near Skunk River.

Officers followed fresh tracks to find the pair, and a search of the vehicle revealed items associated in meth making, authorities said.

During a thorough search of the vehicle, detectives said they found stripped lithium batteries, a baggie containing ephedrine, a plastic bag with coffee filters, a grinder with white powder residue, latex gloves, pseudoephedrine boxes, a used syringe and other items authorities say are associated with meth making.

Beach’s arrest came less than two weeks after she was sentenced, fined and placed on a two-year unsupervised probation for possession of a controlled substance.

That conviction stemmed from a September incident after police were alerted to a suspicious car in the Great River Medical Center parking lot in West Burlington.

When officers approached the car, Beach and a man identified as John Paul Miller, 31, of Ottumwa, took off. Officers stopped the car minutes later at a truck stop on U.S. 34.

A search of the vehicle yielded marijuana and evidence meth had been used, police said.

Miller is scheduled to be sentenced in that case Feb. 10.

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