EAGAN (WCCO) — A Minnesota police officer called it one of the most dangerous traffic stops of his career. Both his partner and he believed the driver they had just pulled over was not going to cooperate — and they were right.
“Myself and my partner put ourselves at risk that night,” said Eagan Police Officer Brian Rundquist, about the midnight traffic stop in late July last summer. “I work this area all the time. Every time you drive by it, you remember those situations, those times.”
He pulled over Charles Lamont Bryant on Highway 55 at Lexington Avenue. But just as Rundquist and his partner, Officer Ben Koenke, walked up to the car, the driver jerked it forward.
“At that point, I got a little leery about the situation, started to feel a little different about it,” said Rundquist. “At that point, I unsnapped my holster.”
Bryant, a convicted criminal, has done time in prison for burglary, assault and fleeing a police officer, and then he did it again. He took off as the officers talked with him from the driver and passenger-side windows.
“It happened very fast. You have little time to react,” said Rundquist.
The officers jumped in their cars and followed Bryant for two miles down the winding highway. They said it was a heart-pounding, high-speed chase that easily passed 100 mph. Then, the officers saw a small explosion in the distance, which, when described by them, looked like fireworks. Bryant had crashed his car at Highway 55 where it crossed Highway 110.
“When I hit the bridge here, you see all the debris,” said Koenke, describing the dash-cam video from his partner’s car.
“I thought for sure, when I got up to the car, he would be laying unconscious in the car,” recalled Officer Rundquist.
Bryant was gone. He either flew out the passenger side window or got out on his own and ran.
The Eagan Police Department is not exactly sure where Bryant is, perhaps still in the Twin Cities or somewhere else. So, a nationwide warrant, covering the entire country, has been issued for his arrest.
Eagan Police said they found drugs in the car, a shotgun with a pistol grip and shotgun shells.
“When you find stuff like this, it just leads me to believe, he’s not going to stop for anything and will keep going till he’s apprehended,” said Koenke.
The Eagan Police Department will take tip calls about Bryant’s whereabouts anytime at 651-675-5799.