Update: Suspects in chase allegedly assaulted state trooper

Published 3:05 pm Thursday, December 20, 2018

Two men are in custody after they allegedly assaulted a Minnesota State Patrol trooper and then led state and local authorities on a high-speed chase Thursday afternoon that started east of Blue Earth and ended in Albert Lea.

The trooper had reportedly pulled over the vehicle the men were riding in on Interstate 90 west of Minnesota Highway 254, according to a Minnesota Department of Public Safety news release.

Montrell Smith

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire Minnesota State Patrol are with our trooper tonight,” said Col. Matt Langer, chief of the State Patrol. “We want to thank all law enforcement involved in the search for the suspects and are grateful the suspects are in custody and off the streets.”

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The trooper was taken to United Hospital in Blue Earth and was reported to be conscious and stable, the release stated.

The suspects were transported to the Faribault County jail.

Albert Lea Public Safety Director J.D. Carlson said Albert Lea police were alerted to the chase as the vehicle approached the city. He said the suspects had initially taken the exit off of Interstate 90 onto Minnesota Highway 13 before immediately getting back on the interstate and then exiting at the Bridge Avenue exit in Albert Lea.

The men were reportedly seen throwing bricks of marijuana out of their vehicle on Interstate 90 and on Bridge Avenue in Albert Lea, Carlson. The vehicle had California plates.

Anthony Enriquez

Carlson said a brick of marijuana was found near St. Theodore Catholic Church and at the intersection of Bridge Avenue and Hawthorne Street in the city. Others were found along the interstate.

The chase was called off when the vehicle drove into Albert Lea, but authorities later found that the men had abandoned their vehicle in the parking lot behind Brick Furniture and fled on foot, leading to a search of the downtown area. A helicopter was called in to assist.

Many who traveled near or through downtown noticed a heavy law enforcement presence, and the men were ultimately arrested in the Sportsman’s Tavern on East Clark Street. An employee reportedly went outside, saw an Albert Lea officer and waved him over, Carlson said.

The State Patrol release stated several southern Minnesota law enforcement agencies assisted in the search, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting in the investigation.

Look to the Tribune for more information as it becomes available.