An East Peoria man will appear in court today for allegedly turning a minor drug infraction into a chase in which he struck a police car.

Keith Kohtz, 23, didn’t appear agitated at first when an officer, sent by a report of a man sleeping in a car in the Walmart Supercenter parking lot, woke him up late Tuesday afternoon.

“I just had a little bit of vanilla,” he said, then explained he meant marijuana, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit. A pipe sat in view on the car’s passenger seat.

When the officer told him to hand the pipe over, Kohtz started his car and drove away despite the officer’s orders to stop. Two more officers sped to the Riverside Center shopping complex as Kohtz, apparently intending to leave the scene, instead turned back.

That produced a chase as Kohtz drove erratically on Riverside Drive and through parking lots of stores and restaurants along it, the affidavit stated.

Kohtz then turned south onto Bass Pro Drive and struck one of the officers’ squad cars. In the wrong lane, he headed directly at another squad before swerving to avoid a head-on collision, the affidavit stated.

The chase ended when Kohtz lost control of his car on a curve and skidded into a curb, disabling the vehicle. Several officers combined to arrest him, the affidavit stated.

Kohtz then told them he had smoked “a couple bowls” of marijuana and drunk a small bottle of tequila. Officers found one gram of the drug in his possession, the affidavit stated.

Kohtz, of 800 Meadow Ave., was charged with one count each of aggravated assault of a police officer, aggravated fleeing police, felony criminal damage to property, DUI, possession of marijuana and possession of drug equipment.

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