Cyclist gets year in jail for chase

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Rudolph Voght is seen at his sentencing Wednesday. Voght received a year in jail for fleeing police in April.

HOUGHTON — A Houghton man who led police on a multi-county motorcycle chase last year was sentenced to a year in jail in Houghton County Circuit Court Tuesday.

Rudolph Voght, 31, pleaded guilty in January to fleeing and eluding police, a five-year felony. Guidelines called for a minimum sentence of 10 to 23 months.

In April, he refused to pull over after an attempted stop by police on Houghton Canal Road. He was later apprehended by police in Ontonagon.

Prosecutor Michael Makinen said Voght had several previous encounters with the court system, mostly related to driving. Had Voght hurt anyone, he would be facing prison time, Makinen said.

“There’s something that he’s demonstrated that he cannot make a safe judgment when he’s driving,” he said. “..Something starts to go wrong when he’s driving. It’s like he has a panic instinct and does something foolish. For public safety, we can’t have that.”

Voght’s attorney, Keith DeForge, agreed with Makinen’s description, saying many of the charges were operating while intoxicated or driving on a suspended license. Voght’s guideline score is inflated by two felonies dating back to when he was 19 years old, he said.

But he said Voght had kicked many of his earlier habits, having been sober for three years and attended college. While he agreed with taking away Voght’s license, he said a year in jail was too long.

“He was tempted with the fight-or-flight, and unfortunately for Mr. Voght, he chose to flee, and fled for a significant amount of time,” he said.

Voght’s pre-sentence comments were “just that I’m sorry.”

Judge Charles Goodman said Voght’s actions posed a danger to himself, the pursuing officers and people potentially within his path.

Voght was given credit for 31 days served. He also received two years probation, including license sanctions.