High-speed chase ends in injury

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Albert Lea man led authorities on a high-speed pursuit early Monday morning, after he reportedly stole a car from a residence in Albert Lea.

The pursuit ended after the 2005 Lincoln LS rolled several times in the south ditch and struck a utility pole west of the Bend in the Road in Manchester.

Thomas Eugene Vaale was airlifted by Mayo One helicopter to St. Marys Hospital. His condition was unknown as of press time.

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According to police, dispatchers received a report of the stolen car at about 12:44 a.m. Monday after the owner at 1117 Foothills Circle told police he was out having a cigarette and heard someone start his car and drive off.

At about 12:50 a.m., a Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputy found the car near the intersection of Freeborn County Road 25 and 760th Avenue, north of Albert Lea. The deputy reportedly followed the car westbound on Freeborn County Road 25, and when the car reached 750th Avenue, it accelerated rapidly, according to a news release.

The car reportedly continued to flee even after the deputy activated his squad car lights and sirens, reaching speeds of over 85 mph.

Deputies put out stop sticks at the intersection of County 25 and State Highway 13, in Manchester, of which Vaale reportedly drove over.

He started to lose control, however, just west of the Bend in the Road in Manchester, started to spin, went into the south ditch and rolled.

The car struck a utility pole and came to rest on its roof.

Agencies assisting at the scene were the Albert Lea Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Manchester Fire Department and ambulance crews from Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea.

The crash remains under investigation by the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office.