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Canistota man accused of eluding has extensive record

SALEM -- A man involved in a chase and crash Tuesday in McCook County has an extensive criminal record, including three drunken driving convictions and 17 overall misdemeanors.

Michael Popkes, 32, of Canistota, was arrested for eluding Tuesday afternoon after he fled law enforcement and crashed his vehicle into a tree in McCook County. The Daily Republic misspelled Popkes' last name in an article that started on Page A1 of Wednesday's edition.

Popkes was also convicted of eluding law enforcement two years ago in McCook County.

Typically, a third DUI within 10 years is a felony. Hanson County State's Attorney Jim Davies said offenders can have several DUIs and not have a felony conviction for a number of reasons. Prosecutors can charge an offender with first-offense DUI on a second offense because the penalty is the same, Davies said. This is what appears to have happened in Popkes' case -- he was convicted of his first DUI in 2011 in Minnehaha County and his second in 2012 in McCook County. His record indicates he was convicted of a first-offense DUI on both occasions.

There are also times, Davies said, if an offender can be placed in treatment and do well prior to sentencing, that a prosecutor will agree to a reduced charge.

Popkes' record includes 17 misdemeanor convictions and goes back to 1998 with a couple of driving violations -- making an illegal turn and driving with a suspended license. Since 2000, he's been convicted of possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana; under-21 driver -- an offense for those under 21 who have consumed alcohol or drugs and drive or operate a vehicle; possession of alcohol by a minor twice; ingesting an intoxicant other than alcohol to become intoxicated; reckless driving; failure to stop after an accident causing property damage; failure to report an accident to police; two counts of simple assault; driving under the influence in Minnehaha County and driving under the influence twice in McCook County.