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Driverless car rolls down South Avenue; shoeless man accused of stealing the car

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A moving car with no one behind the wheel nearly hit two other cars and sideswiped another Sunday night on South Avenue before stopping near Gundersen Health System, in La Crosse

Witnesses saw the driver jump out and run away, leaving the car rolling along around 7:30 p.m.

La Crosse police are calling it a case of “drug-induced excited delirium.”

It’s charging Cody West from La Crescent, Minn., with stealing a car from a Kwik Trip, driving it to La Crosse, and then running from the car, thinking he had parked it near Gundersen.

Apparently, the 18-year-old did not put the car into park, because it kept running down South Avenue without a driver, before slowing to a stop.

West told police he had taken psychedelic mushrooms at a house in La Crescent, panicked when he saw a knife in the house, then ran out in his socks without putting on shoes.

After stealing the car in La Crescent, West said the mushrooms started taking effect while he was driving on South Avenue.

He also made his way downtown, and reportedly caused trouble at the Driftless Axe and the Fairfield Inn before officers spotted the shoeless man and arrested him.

West faces charges of driving a stolen car, and disorderly conduct. He’s been released from jail.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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