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Willmar police officer injured and suspect arrested in pursuit

A 39-year-old Willmar man is in the Kandiyohi County Jail after leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase Tuesday afternoon. A squad car rolled during the incident, injuring the officer.

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WILLMAR — A Willmar police officer was injured and a squad car damaged during a pursuit and arrest of a man Tuesday afternoon.

The incident began around 2:51 p.m. when law enforcement attempted to stop a 2008 Ford Edge on Lakeland Drive near Olena Avenue Southeast. The stop was initiated because the vehicle had a suspected stolen license plate.

According to a news release from Police Chief Jim Felt, the vehicle was going east on Kandiyohi County Road 23 at a high rate of speed and then went north on 45th Street Southeast.

The vehicle was being driven “recklessly with items being thrown out of the window,” according to Felt.

Police used a “pursuit intervention technique,” which put the vehicle into a controlled skid before it could reach the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and 45th Street Southeast, which is also known as County Road 22.

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The suspect’s vehicle stopped in the ditch of that intersection but in the process, a Willmar Police Department squad car, a 2020 Ford Explorer, left the roadway and struck a drainage channel in the ditch, causing the squad car to overturn.

The officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the rollover and was transported to Carris Health-Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar where he was treated and released.

The suspect, a 39-year-old man from Willmar, was taken into custody at the scene and is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail pending potential charges of fleeing police in a motor vehicle, fifth-degree controlled substance crime, driving while impaired and possession of stolen property.

He was not injured in the incident.

The crash investigation is being conducted by the State Patrol.

The State Patrol, Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, CentraCare Emergency Medical Services, Willmar Fire Department, Kandiyohi County Rescue Squad, Kandiyohi Fire Department and First Responders all assisted at the scene.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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