This last weekend a man fled from authorities in his minivan along Highway 53.  My family and I happened to be traveling Southbound on that same road that afternoon.  For the first time in my life, I witnessed a high speed chase up close.

We had just left my mom's house in Gilbert, and were heading South on Highway 53.  We noticed a squad speeding northbound with it's lights flashing.  We didn't think much of it.  A little bit later, another squad came screaming by in the opposite direction.  Then another came by, and another.  At this point we knew something was going on.

We continued driving for another few miles when I went to pass a car as we approached a railroad bridge.  In my rear view I noticed lights flashing way off into the distance. (We were on a straight stretch.)

With my suspicions from the previous squad cars, I was alert and knew something was up.  I spotted the minivan in front of them and immediately knew it was a high speed chase.  I pulled over as far as I could to the side of the road, and prayed the guy wouldn't hit us.

He went by us at close to 100 mph, I would guess.  My 4 door 1/2 ton F-150 ROCKED when the vehicles passed us.  First it was the minivan followed very closely by 8 squad cars.   We waited until they passed and we were clear and started on our way again.  Periodically, another lagging squad would come along and we would have to pull over again.  We counted a total of 12 squads involved from what we could see.

About 15 miles down the road, the chase came to an end after one of the squads forced him off the road, causing the minivan to roll several times just south of Independence, MN.

You get a different perspective about a high speed chase when you are so close to one. My family's life was threatened by this guy speeding away.  He may have had a death wish, but that's no reason to put everyone else's life at risk.  Here we were enjoying a Memorial Weekend, never expecting something like this to happen.

In some cases, police do not pursue these suspects because of the danger it creates.  I reached out to Duluth PD's Ron Tinsley, and asked him about the circumstances with high speed chases.


Me:  Why would police in some cases decide to back off of a chase?

Officer Tinsley: A police chase may be terminated if determined the chase is creating a danger to the public.

Me:  Who makes up the policy and rules for high speed chases and how law enfocement handles it?

Officer Tinsley:  Department set guidelines and policies regarding police pursuits.

Me:  Are spike strips/ blockades/ other tech used locally for these?

Officer Tinsley:  Spike Strips is the only equipment used to aid in police pursuits in our area that I am aware of. 

Me:  Do certain crimes absolutely warrant a chase?

Officer Tinsley:  A violent felony warrants a police pursuit.

In conclusion, I would urge you to always be an attentive driver and be aware of your surroundings.  Had I, or other motorists, not seen him coming this could have been a much sadder story.

Here is the news coverage of the chase from WDIO.


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