Ames police officer arrested after leading State Patrol officer on wrong-way chase that topped 130 mph, authorities say

Andrea May Sahouri
Ames Tribune

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the wrong firname for Officer Eaton.

An Ames officer has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly driving while intoxicated on the wrong way of a highway at speeds up to 131 mph on Monday evening.

Jason Eaton, 39, of the Ames Police Department, led an Iowa State Patrol officer on a high-speed chase before he was arrested, according to a criminal complaint. He was charged with operating while intoxicated, his first time charged of the offense, eluding, failing to obey a stop sign and speeding.

At about 10 p.m. Monday, a Nevada police officer notified Story County Dispatch of a vehicle driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of Highway 30 around 19th Street in Nevada, according to a criminal complaint. The Nevada police officer said the driver, Eaton, also failed to yield. 

A nearby Iowa State Patrol officer was eastbound on Highway 30, with emergency lights activated between 580th Avenue and 590th Avenue, when Eaton drove past the officer still driving on the wrong side of the highway, the criminal complaint states. The state patrol officer then checked Eaton's speed, which was listed as 126 mph in a 65 mph zone.

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Police lights

The state patrol officer then turned around to follow Eaton, activated a siren, and a chase ensued, the criminal complaint details. Eaton allegedly turned north on 580th Avenue, then westbound on frontage road before driving through a field and re-entering Highway 30.

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Eaton proceeded north on I-35 at speeds up to 131 mph in a 70 mph zone, the criminal complaint states, and allegedly exited at 190th Street and ran a stop sign at the end of the ramp. Eaton then stopped on 190th Street, east of 570th Avenue, and exited his vehicle, according to the criminal complaint. 

The Iowa State Patrol officer claims to have smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Eaton's breath. Eaton allegedly admitted to drinking 1-2 beers that evening, according to the criminal complaint. 

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The state patrol officer discovered multiple open and unopened alcohol containers inside Eaton's vehicle, according to the complaint. Eaton allegedly refused field sobriety tests. Police were granted a search warrant to obtain a blood sample from Eaton, which will be sent to the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations for analysis.

Cmdr. James Tuttle, spokesperson for the Ames Police Department, confirmed Eaton is an officer within the department. 

"We are aware of Officer Jason Eaton's arrest by the Iowa State Patrol. He will be placed on paid Administrative Leave, as directed by Department policy, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Since this is a confidential personnel matter, we will have no further comment," Tuttle wrote in an email.