Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

On Interstate 35: The closest I ever want to come to a high speed chase February 7, 2016

Traffic backs up in the southbound lane of Interstate 35 around 10:30 a.m. Saturday following the end of a high speed chase.

Traffic backs up in the southbound lane of Interstate 35 south of Lakeville around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

IF YOU WERE TRAVELING Interstate 35 to or from the Twin Cities metro mid-morning Saturday, you may have encountered a massive police presence south of Lakeville. And if you initially thought a serious accident had occurred, like my husband and I, you would have been wrong.

Lakeville police joined numerous Minnesota State Highway Patrol officers on the scene.

Lakeville police joined numerous Minnesota State Highway Patrol officers on the scene.

Rather, we happened upon the aftermath of a high speed chase which started in Bloomington and continued through Burnsville, Lakeville and into Scott County. Traffic backed up to a standstill in the southbound lane of I-35 as about a dozen police vehicles converged on the area.

Law enforcement were checking near mile marker 78 for something tossed out the window.

Law enforcement were checking near mile marker 78 for something (possibly a weapon) tossed out the window.

We were tipped off to the nature of the incident when we failed to notice crashed vehicles but rather spotted law enforcement officers walking along the shoulder of the Interstate. They appeared to be searching for something. And they were. According to a nearly 12-minute audio on mnpoliceclips.com, they were scanning the area around mile marker 78 for a possible weapon tossed out the passenger side window of a U-Haul pick-up truck.

The driver of this U-Haul pick-up led police on a high speed chase Saturday morning in the southern Twin Cities metro.

The driver of this U-Haul pick-up led police on a high speed chase Saturday morning in the southern Twin Cities metro.

It was that vehicle which led police on a chase along Highway 13, County Road 5 and Interstate 35 at speeds topping more than 90 mph. The pick-up, at one point driving on a rim with a blown right front tire, sped southbound in the northbound lane of CR 5, nearly hitting a car head-on.

Here are some snippets from the audio:

hit a car on Parkway

a dangerous pursuit here, be careful

on the shoulder and all over the road

Rice County monitoring

reaching into glovebox and tossing stuff out the window

one in custody

two weapons laying on the freeway

What’s the full story here? I wish I could tell you. But I don’t know. I do know, however, that I am thankful no one was injured or killed. Pursuits like this can quickly turn tragic—for both the general public and for law enforcement—when someone, for whatever reason, chooses to disregard the lives of others. For this suspect, the high speed chase meant what, 12 additional minutes of freedom?

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling