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  1. #1
    Illiy is offline Corporal
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    Minn. officer laying spike strips saved by remembering training

    Minn. officer laying spike strips saved by remembering training

    The St. Paul Pioneer Press
    Related: Tire deflation device safety tips
    New Tire deflation devices help put an end to pursuits

    WOODBURY, Minn. — Moments after veteran Woodbury police officer Scott Melander rolled out stop sticks along Interstate 494 early Sunday, he took cover on a center median, near a bridge pillar. That action may have saved his life.


    Soon, the suspect, who was leading police on a pursuit that began in Mendota Heights, came barreling down the interstate at more than 100 mph, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

    The driver swerved away from the stop sticks and slammed without braking into the back of Melander’s unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe on the shoulder of the road with emergency lights flashing, the State Patrol said. The crash occurred at 2:12 a.m.

    The man died at the scene, according to the State Patrol, which is leading the crash investigation. His name was not released.

    Both vehicles started burning after the impact, but officers were able to put the fires out, said Woodbury police Sgt. Brett Billmeyer.

    Melander learned a valuable lesson from a similar accident nearly three years ago to the day, Billmeyer said. On Jan. 26, 2005, a 19-year-old man died after leading authorities on a high-speed chase and crashing into an unoccupied Woodbury police car at Interstate 494 and Valley Creek Road. A Woodbury police officer who was outside the squad car setting up stop sticks was unharmed.

    “(Melander) said he learned a lot from that previous incident,” Billmeyer said. “The officers have been trained to stay away from the squad cars after putting down the stops sticks and to find something that is going to protect you.”

    According to the State Patrol, shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday a trooper clocked the man going more than 20 mph over the speed limit in a 1998 Chevrolet Camaro on I-494 in Mendota Heights. Instead of stopping when the trooper pursued him, the man hit the gas and led officers on a chase that reached speeds up to 110 mph and crossed into Ramsey and Washington counties.

    Melander heard the pursuit on his radio, pulled his police SUV onto the shoulder of the interstate near Tamarack Road and put down the stop sticks in an attempt to deflate the driver’s car tires, Billmeyer said.

    The stop sticks were placed about 25 feet in front of the police SUV, and Billmeyer said he doubts the man was trying to avoid them. He said the sticks are about 2 inches wide and would be hard to see at night, especially while traveling 100 mph.

    “We’re not sure if this was intentional or what he was thinking,” Billmeyer said. “It could be one of those things that you may never know why it happened.”

    State Patrol Lt. Mark Peterson said Melander did the right thing in taking cover and recalled how Lino Lakes officer Shawn Silvera was killed while trying to put stop sticks on Interstate 35W in September 2005. Silvera, like Melander, was in the center median when the suspect veered and hit him.

    “We lost an officer in Lino Lakes who was deploying stop sticks,” Peterson said. “But the intent is to deflate tires in safe and gradual manner and it’s one of many tools to try and bring a pursuit to an end in a safe manner.”
    FIGHT ON!


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  2. #2
    gopherpuckfan's Avatar
    gopherpuckfan is offline I'm from the government and I'm here to help
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    I was working that night and was listening to the chase on the statewide channel (MINSEF). When I heard the trooper say, "He crashed into the Woodbury squad", I feared the worst until he came back on 5 to 10 seconds later (which seemed like FOREVER) and said, "The squad was unoccupied". It was only about 30 seconds or so from the time the Woodbury officer said he set up spike strips to when the crash happened.

    My only guess on why the kid ran is he was possibly DWI (2am on a Sunday morning?). He had no criminal history and a clean driving record. We won't know until the BCA releases the toxicology report.
    The views expressed in the above post are the sole opinion of the author and do not reflect any official position by the author's employer and/or municipality.

  3. #3
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    jmur5074 is offline Moderator
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    Interesting
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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  4. #4
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    KaiGywer is offline *insert witty remark here*
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    I drive by there every day to and from work. Glad to hear the officer was unharmed.
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  5. #5
    Standard Dave's Avatar
    Standard Dave is offline Constable
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    Just goes to show hard cover to deploy stinger, stop stick etc is essential.
    "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" Edmund Burke.
    "the world is a dangerous place place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who do not do anything about it" Albert Einstein

  6. #6
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    Kudos to the officer, well done.
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  7. #7
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    Excellent outcome. Good guys +2 Bad guys -1
    There are only two kinds of real justice left: street and poetic...


    Canada, huh? Almost made it...

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