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Cloquet man arrested after high-speed chase ends in crash

A Cloquet man was arrested last week after allegedly leading police on a high-speed chase that ended after he plowed his car into a pine tree in a resident's yard. The 28-year-old had his three-year-old daughter and a juvenile cousin in the car a...

A Cloquet man was arrested last week after allegedly leading police on a high-speed chase that ended after he plowed his car into a pine tree in a resident's yard. The 28-year-old had his three-year-old daughter and a juvenile cousin in the car at the time, as well as an unloaded, uncased firearm, according to court documents.

Matthew Allen Skog made an initial appearance in Carlton County District Court on Monday on a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and gross misdemeanor charges of DWI and endangerment of a child. He was also charged with misdemeanors including criminal damage to property and unlawful transport of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

The incident took place August 21, when Fond du Lac and Cloquet police officers were informed that a car was driving erratically, cutting people off and driving on the sidewalk on Highway 45 near the Holiday gas station in Cloquet.

Fond du Lac Police Officer Jason O'Leary attempted to get Skog to stop, but to no avail, documents said.

Instead, Skog allegedly sped away, driving through intersections without stopping, eventually turning onto 14th Street. Cloquet Police Sargeant Scott Holman came to assist O'Leary and then led the pursuit.

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At times, Skog drove up to 70 miles per hour in a residential area of the city zoned for 30 miles per hour, documents said. Holman attempted to stop Skog with his squad car, but Skog allegedly turned as if to strike it and drove away.

Eventually, records said Skog drove the car down Kelly Avenue, which ends at a cul-du-sac. Instead of stopping at the dead end, Skog allegedly drove to the end of the road, continued up a steep hill, spinning and damaging property at 2711 Prospect Avenue.

Once over the hill, Skog reportedly turned the car and struck a tree. When he continued to accelerate the car, attempting to drive over the tree, Holman drove his car over to block Skog's car from moving, documents said.

Fond du Lac Police Officer Sam Ojibway, Cloquet Police Sergeant Tom Hallfrisch and Office Tori Cawcutt drove to the scene to assist. After officers ordered Skog to show his hands, he allegedly refused and after struggling and fighting, an officer used a taser twice, eventually taking Skog into custody.

In the meantime, other officers took the 17-year-old passenger into custody briefly and found Skog's daughter in the back seat of the car, without a child safety seat and unbuckled, documents showed. The girl was later reunited with her mother. An unloaded and uncased .22 caliber pistol was reportedly found in between the driver's seat and the center console of the car.

Skog allegedly told officers he had consumed eight to 10 alcoholic drinks earlier in the day and later consented to a blood alcohol test while at Community Memorial Hospital for minor injuries associated with the crash.

None of the officers nor the passengers sustained more than minor injuries, according to Wade Lamirande, Cloquet Police Chief. There was extensive damage done to the yard at the Cloquet residence, he said.

Skog is currently on probation for a Stearns County DWI conviction in January and was also convicted of DWI in Pine County in 1998.

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Skog posted $20,000 bond and was released from Carlton County jail. His next court appearance is set for Sept. 19.

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