UPDATED: Saginaw man in custody following high-speed pursuitA Saginaw man was charged in Carlton County Court on Monday following a high-speed vehicle pursuit that resulted in damage to at least four squad cars.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
A Saginaw man was charged in Carlton County Court on Monday following a high-speed vehicle pursuit that resulted in damage to at least four squad cars. Kevin Charles Begay, 24, has been charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, first-degree criminal damage to property with risk of bodily harm, second-degree assault, driving after suspension, fleeing on foot and reckless driving.
Bail for Begay was initially set at $50,000/$5,000 cash, but he was released into the custody of St. Louis County for a prior warrant against him. When his case there is concluded, a warrant will be issued by Carlton County and he will be returned to the county.
According to the complaint filed in the incident, Cloquet Police Sergeant Jeff Palmer attempted to pull over Begay for his driving conduct at approximately 3:37 a.m. Friday near the Warming House on Highway 33 North in Cloquet. Begay failed to stop for the officer and began to intentionally elude Palmer and other officers who joined the pursuit.
Reports stated that Begay varied his speed several times during the 20-minute pursuit, at one point crossing over into the northbound lane of Highway 33 and traveling southbound. He also intentionally collided his vehicle with an officer's vehicle, resulting in damage to the squad car. The squad car became inoperable after ending up in the median portion of Highway 33.
Begay’s vehicle also became stuck in the median portion of Highway 33 at one point, but he was able to extract his vehicle and he then drove it straight at the stranded officer, who had stepped of his car. After the officer retreated back into his vehicle, Begay flee south out of the city of Cloquet, despite being followed by squad cars with lights and sirens activated.
He drove into the southbound portion of Interstate 35 at a high rate of speed reaching 100 miles per hour at times, with officers still in pursuit. Near Black Bear Casino, Begay exited the freeway, driving into the grassy portion along the exit before entering Highway 210 and heading into Carlton.
Law enforcement officers from the Carlton County Sheriff’s Department joined Cloquet Police in the pursuit as Begay attempted to elude officers within the residential portion of Carlton.
During the pursuit, Sgt. Palmer’s squad car lost its brakes due to overheating. He was forced to make an evasive maneuver in order to stop and he crashed into a garage.
Officers were eventually able to successfully execute a pursuit intervention technique (P.I.T.) to get Begay’s vehicle off the road as he crashed into a shed in the back yard of a home in Carlton. Following the crash, Begay leaped out of the vehicle and attempted to run away from officers. One of the sheriff’s deputies was able to run him down and arrest him.
It was later determined that Begay’s driver’s license had been suspended, he had a warrant against him from St. Louis County and he told officers he was suicidal and wanted to “end it all” by eluding officers in his car, hoping he would die.
Terry Hill, Cloquet assistant police chief, explained that incidents such as this one require that officers make informed judgment calls in deciding how best to proceed by assessing the hour of day, the volume of traffic in the area, and the threat to public safety. He said many of the local officers have been trained in the P.I.T. maneuver at the Minnesota Highway and Safety Research Center in St. Cloud. He added there are certain criteria involved in deciding whether to attempt it, explaining it is primarily done only at slower speeds when the vehicle being pursued refuses to stop, and only if all other means of apprehension have been exhausted. He said basically the driver of a squad car positions his car directly behind the vehicle he or she is pursuing and nudges the rear side portion of the vehicle while at the same time accelerating slightly in attempt to send it into a 180-degree spin to disable or stop it.
“It is one of the most dangerous maneuvers an officer has to partake in,” said Hill. “There are a lot of things that have to be taken into account before it is attempted.”