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Sparks flew as driver of stolen van fled police Monday morning

The driver of a van that was reportedly stolen, led St. Croix sheriff's deputies and on a 19-mile chase early Monday before the vehicle was eventually stopped by Minnesota authorities on a rural road, south east of Woodbury. A man was taken into custody.

St. Croix Dispatch Center records indicate the pursuit began at 5:24 a.m. near Baldwin when a deputy spotted the van, which was said to be stolen.

The chase ran westbound on I-94 at speeds of 85 mph or more and the van shifting from one lane to another. Before the van reached mile-marker 12, east of Roberts, a State Trooper was to deploy stop-sticks, flattening two of the van's tires. A St. Croix County deputy put out more spikes at mile-marker 9, but the van continued at a high rate of speed.

Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said officers from his department saw sparks were flying from bare rims of the van as it passed through the city on the freeway.

Upon crossing the St. Croix River bridge, the driver turned onto Hwy. 95, heading south.

The pursuing officer estimated the fugitive's speed through the Lower St. Croix Beach roundabouts at 55 mph.

At one point, the officer announced the van had struck the median, showering the road with vehicle parts and it appeared he was about to crash, but then recovered again -- with all four tires now flattened. That occurred at 5:50 a.m.

Washington County sheriff's deputies then picked up the chase and soon reported that they had the individual stopped on 19th Street, east of St. Croix Trail. The suspect was taken into custody at 5:53 a.m.

Sparks flew as a police chase of a stolen car came through Hudson early Monday morning.

The chase began in Baldwin, where the village's police chief ran a registration check on the car's license plate numbers.

When records indicated the car was stolen, the Baldwin chief attempted to stop the driver, but he sped away.

Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said he was notified of the chase in progress at about 6 a.m.

Jensen said law enforcement officers laid spikes on westbound Interstate 94 somewhere east of Hudson that flattened the front two tires of the stolen car, but the driver kept going.

"My guys were saying the sparks were just flying all over the place as this guy was driving down the freeway," Jensen said, referring to Hudson police officers involved in the effort to stop the car.

Authorities finally stopped the car at a roundabout on St. Croix Trail South (County Hwy. 18) in Lakeland, Minn., according to Jensen.

He said the driver is in custody in Washington County, Minn.