Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man sentenced to 12 years in prison on firearms, escape and assault

He led police on high-speed chase and tried to run over U.S. marshal

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was sentenced Thursday to more than 12 years in prison for escaping from a halfway house, leading authorities on a high-speed chase with three loaded firearms in a car and trying to run over a U.S. marshal.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Kelsey Beckett, 24, created “substantial risk of bodily injury” during a high-speed car chase through busy commercial and residential areas on Nov. 8, 2016. He had three loaded, high -apacity firearms in the stolen car he was driving.

Beckett was trying to get away after officers had attempted to stop him because he had escaped from a halfway house, where he was serving time on previous firearms convictions.

When a U.S. marshal, on foot, attempted to stop Beckett after he struck a skid loader, causing a car fire, Beckett tried to run him over and then tried two more times to strike the marshal, according to a sentencing document.

During the hearing, Williams said it was “lucky” the marshal didn’t shoot Beckett, as another marshal told him to do.

During the chase, he damaged property, totaled a U.S. Marshals Service vehicle and hit a utility pole. Beckett then got out of the car and the chase continued on foot.

A K-9 officer and dog were called out. and Beckett struck the dog multiple times, Williams said. Court documents state it was the first time the dog had to bite a suspect in self-defense in order to protect himself.

“This was incredibly dangerous to the public and law enforcement,” Williams said.

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Williams varied from guideline sentencing because of Beckett’s “reckless” behavior, but he didn’t increase the prison time as much as he had planned after hearing Beckett’s statement to the court.

Beckett, during sentencing, said he took “full responsibility” for his actions and apologized for putting others in danger. He told the judge that while he’s been in prison, he’s participated in classes to improve himself. He took anger management, substance abuse treatment and other classes aimed at making him a better person.

Williams said he believed Beckett was sincere and told him this was his chance to change his life.

Williams also ordered Beckett to pay $8,814 in victim restitution and to serve three years on supervised release following prison.

• Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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