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Hector man in police pursuit dies at hospital; State Patrol to investigate

OLIVIA — The 22-year-old Hector man involved in a police pursuit and crash Saturday evening on U.S. Highway 212 near Olivia has died at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

According to a news release from Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable, Cody A. Kirgiss had to be extricated from the van he was driving after the vehicle struck an unoccupied squad car, rolled and caught fire. Kirgiss was then airlifted from the scene by a medical helicopter.

The State Patrol provided assistance at the scene and will conduct an analysis of crash information.

The incident began just before 7 p.m. Saturday, when an Olivia police officer was dispatched to a report of reckless driving in the area of Ninth Street and Circle Drive. Moments later, dispatch received a 911 call that Kirgiss had stolen a van and was leaving that area.

An Olivia officer quickly located the van, and the driver refused to stop for the lights and sirens of the squad car and drove westbound on Highway 212.

A Renville County sheriff’s deputy stopped his squad car, a 2013 Ford Police Interceptor SUV, on the eastbound shoulder of Highway 212 and exited the vehicle in an attempt to deploy tire deflation devices.

Before the tire devices could be deployed, the van Kirgiss was driving crossed over the centerline and opposing lane of traffic, striking the unoccupied squad car head-on. The vehicle was pushed into a third vehicle that was parked on the shoulder of the road.

According to the State Patrol, the driver of that vehicle, a 1993 Ford pickup, Wallace Lundquist, 64, of Blomkest, was not injured.

The van then rolled onto its side and caught fire. The law enforcement officers attempted to gain entry into the van while bystanders attempted to put the fire out. The Olivia Fire Department was called to extricate Kirgiss from the van.

An Olivia police officer and a Renville County sheriff’s deputy were treated and released at RC Hospital in Olivia for smoke inhalation and fire extinguisher chemical inhalation.

Both the squad car and the van are considered total losses, Hable said. Also responding were the Renville, Sacred Heart and Hector police departments.