Medical condition being considered in Friday vehicle chase on Highway 64
A 26-year-old male from Lake City, Minn., believed to have been suffering from a medical condition, drove his 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck eastbound in the westbound lane for about 10 miles - from just outside Houlton - before finally coming to a halt at the stoplights at highways 64 and 65 in New Richmond.
St. Croix County Chief Deputy Scott Knudson said the first call to 911 came in at 1:44 p.m. from a motorist reporting the truck with a horse trailer driving erratically just outside of Houlton.
The Lake City man continued traveling eastbound in the wrong lane and struck a vehicle at the County Highway C exit at Somerset, where there was significant damage to the vehicles. However, the man continued on in the wrong lane, despite his truck having a flat tire. There were no injuries in that collision.
By the time the county deputy caught up to the truck, it was traveling on its left front rim with sparks flying. The officer used his sirens and lights to alert the oncoming westbound traffic of the situation.
Stop sticks were laid across the highway just outside New Richmond, but Knudson said he wasn't sure they had much of an effect because the Minnesota man had started to slow and eventually came to a stop at the lights at the intersection of 64 and 65.
Knudson said that getting the driver evaluated and treated for the medical condition was the first priority, but that investigating officers also consider the intent of the driver and whether there is a danger to the community in determining whether an arrest would be made.
"We will review [the situation], make sure he's healthy again, but if it's not medical, there will be some paperwork to follow through on," Knudson said. He also indicated that if the man has a medical condition, then his driver's license would be reviewed so that "something like this doesn't happen again."
In addition to county sheriff's department deputies, officers from the New Richmond Police Department and New Richmond Fire and EMS responded to the call.
Knudson was thankful that there weren't more damages, considering the time of day the Minnesota man was on the highway and the number of vehicles that could have potentially been involved in an accident in this incident.
He said the situation could have been much worse, "at this time of day with everyone he met for 10 miles ..."