MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — What began as a routine morning commute Friday down Highway 212 to Chanhassen quickly turned into a bizarre and dangerous scene.
Christine Smith was heading east from Glencoe when she observed a red car, zooming up from behind her. The car was passing vehicles on the two-lane highway, and when it sped past her it nearly sideswiped her car.
“I would say within eight inches of my car,” she said.
When asked how fast the car was traveling, Smith said it must have been going “close to 100″ mph. She said she was going 55 to 60 mph.
Others weren’t so lucky. The erratic driver rear ended another car at Highway 212 and Carver County 43. The driver of the rear-ended car was transported to Ridgeview Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
Despite the crash and sustaining major damage, the driver of the red car sped on, barely able to see around the hood that had flown up, obstructing the windshield.
Witness Jon Rausenberger pulled over and shot cell phone video of the police in pursuit.
“I’m watching him in the mirror, and he’s not pulling over so I pull off 212 and 41 and quickly grab the phone,” Rausenberger said.
By this time, two of the suspect’s tires were shredded and throwing up rubber.
At 7:48 a.m., a police officer’s pit maneuver spun the car out of control and into a wall near Highway 101, just past Dell Road.
As the driver emerged from the car, it appeared as if he was holding the woman passenger as a hostage. That’s when police scanners described the danger of what was unfolding.
An officer on the scene could be heard on the radio saying: “Hostage situation, shots fired, there’s two down.”
Witnesses recalled hearing more than a dozen rounds of gunfire. Still, investigators won’t say if the woman was killed by police gunfire or at the hands of the driver.
“The nature of the relationship of both parties who are deceased is unclear, so we need to investigate what the circumstances were that led to them being together,” said Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol.
Names of the two people killed will not be released until the autopsies are completed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Highway 212 was closed for much of the day Friday, but it has since reopened.