July 16, 2007

High-speed pursuit goes through heart of Delano

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

A high-speed pursuit that began in Hennepin County and sped through Delano on Highway 12 ended Thursday morning with the suspect crashing his vehicle west of town near Braddock Avenue.

At first, the driver, a 36-year-old male from Minneapolis, and the passenger, a 26-year-old female, also from Minneapolis, were both taken into custody following the chase.

Shortly after that, it was discovered the female was allegedly being held against her will by the man.

Officer Tim Maass of West Hennepin Public Safety responded to several driving complaints just before 9 a.m. about a vehicle driving erratically and at high rates of speed, heading westbound on Highway 12 from the Long Lake area.

Maass located the vehicle, and pursued it with lights and siren activated in an effort to get it to pull over.

“It went into the eastbound lane to pass a vehicle, and ran another car off the road,” Maass said, noting speeds of the driver during that time were in excess of 90 mph.

Maass said the driver of the vehicle swerved at oncoming traffic, and continued to drive in the eastbound lane of traffic.

The driver proceeded into Wright County, going through a red stoplight at the intersection of Highway 12 and County Line Road, that had traffic traveling north and south at the time.

“How he made it through there, I have no idea,” Maass said.

The driver continued through Delano on Highway 12, eventually heading west on Wright County Road 30 into Franklin Township.

Maass said that near Braddock Avenue, the driver lost control of the vehicle, spun, and ended up in the south ditch.

“He attempted to drive out of the ditch,” Maass said, adding that he positioned his squad car to make this impossible. Maass then ordered both of the occupants at gunpoint to exit the vehicle. As back-up arrived, Maass discovered what appeared to be the female being held against her will.

“She jumped out of the vehicle screaming and crying,” Maass said. “She was obviously scared.”

The 36-year-old male was taken into custody, and is being held at the Hennepin County Jail, awaiting formal charges of false imprisonment, among others, Maass said. The female is not facing any charges as a result of the incident.

Maass believes the male was under the influence of a narcotic at the time of the chase, and said a urine sample was taken to determine if that was the case.

No one was injured during the incident, and no weapons were located inside the vehicle, which was impounded.

“I was afraid he was going to crash,” Maass said, noting how busy Highway 12 is during rush hour.

Delano Fire and Rescue, and the Wright and Hennepin county sheriff’s departments also assisted at the scene of the crash.

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