Man accused of fleeing traffic stop, crashed car charged with firearm crimes

(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester man accused of fleeing a traffic stop and car crash Thursday night faces firearm charges in Olmsted County Court.

Robert Alvin Cleaves, 21, faces charges of felon in possession of a firearm; machine gun–owns, possesses, or operates machine gun/trigger activator/machine gun conversion kit; and fleeing police in a motor vehicle.

According to court documents, at about 11:40 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, a Rochester police officer saw a silver Chevy Equinox begin to pull out onto Broadway, then stop abruptly when the officer’s squad car passed.

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The officer turned around to get behind the vehicle and saw the driver pull into a McDonald’s lot, but not go through the drive-thru or get food.

According to court documents, while the two cars were stopped, the officer learned that the car was registered to a woman associated with Cleaves, whose drivers license was revoked.

According to court documents, the officer viewed a previous booking photo of Cleaves and believed he was the car’s driver.

When the Equinox took off again, the officer performed a traffic stop on W Silver Lake Dr. NE, and Cleaves identified himself, according to court documents.

Police claim that when Cleaves opened the car’s glove box to retrieve insurance information, the officer saw a 9mm bullet in the compartment.

The officer asked Cleaves and his passenger to place their hands on the dashboard, court documents allege, and then Cleaves allegedly shifted the Equinox into drive and took off southbound on 9th Avenue NW.

The Equinox crashed into a tree on 9th Ave, and when the officer caught up, the vehicle was empty.

Cleaves was later arrested Dec. 15, 2023, according to court documents, and appeared in court Dec. 18.

According to court documents, police searched the crashed vehicle and found a Glock 19 with a 30-round magazine on the floor of the car, which had an “auto sear” or “switch” that would allow the pistol to fire 15 rounds in less than a second.

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Police claim they also found two more rounds of 9 mm ammunition in the car, and a firearm storage box with more live ammunition at Cleaves’ residence Friday, Dec. 15.

Cleaves is ineligible to possess firearms following a felony domestic assault conviction dating back to 2021.

RPD public information officer Amanda Grayson confirmed Monday that Cleaves’ passenger had also been taken into custody. Court documents do not state when or where the second arrest occurred.