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Police: Man reports driving drunk, hits palm tree on Las Vegas Strip after chase

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010 | 12:05 p.m.

A police chase ended Tuesday morning when an alleged drunken driver struck a pole and a palm tree outside the Wynn Las Vegas on the Strip, Metro Police said.

The incident began about midnight when a driver called Henderson authorities to report he was driving drunk, Henderson Police spokesman Todd Rasmussen said. Henderson police found the man driving northbound on Boulder Highway, but the man didn’t pull over, even after officers turned their lights on, he said.

Rasmussen identified the man as 20-year-old Charles Pilette of Henderson. The incident prompted authorities to close part of Las Vegas Boulevard for nearly eight hours.

Henderson police notified Metro Police about the driver and handed the situation over to them after Pilette left Henderson, Rasmussen said.

Metro Police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said that after Metro received the call from Henderson’s police department, they set up "stop sticks" – which are used to deflate tires – on Boulder Highway at Lamb Boulevard. The device failed to stop the driver, who then drove into downtown Las Vegas before turning onto Las Vegas Boulevard, she said.

During Metro’s pursuit, Pilette allegedly continued calling Henderson police, saying “if he had guns on him, he’d be shooting at officers,” Morgan said. Pilette, who was driving a green Dodge Durango, wasn't armed, police said. Morgan described Pilette as “extremely intoxicated.”

As Pilette approached the Wynn, a police vehicle slammed into the rear of his car, sending it into a spin. Officers then crashed into the vehicle to force Pilette to a stop, Morgan said.

Police shot him with bean bags and he was taken into custody.

Pilette was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, Morgan said. No one else was injured.

Las Vegas Boulevard was closed in both directions at the Wynn after the crash occurred. Morgan said she was unsure what charges the man will face.

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