By John Lauritsen

NORTH BRANCH, Minn. (WCCO) — A man is dead after a high-speed chase in Chisago County.

Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office says a deputy and another driver are lucky to be alive.

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On Friday afternoon, the deputy was pursuing a man, when the suspect crashed into a woman’s SUV, and the deputy then crashed into his car.

The chase began just before 3 Friday afternoon, as Chisago deputies were assisting North Branch Police with a man who had violated a no contact order.

“What you hear on the news at night is always a slice of what we had to deal with,” said Sgt. Kyle Puelston.

And what officers dealt with in this case, could have ended far differently. The suspect was demanding to speak to a woman he wasn’t supposed to have contact with. Officers said he told a dispatcher that he would run people over with his car and shoot at officers and anyone else who tried to stop him.

“This one was definitely more significant in the fact that he was suicidal and homicidal,” said Puelston.

Police locked down a North Branch business after the man threatened people there. They then found him in Isanti County and a high speed chase began, taking them through country roads near North Branch.

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The chase ended when the suspect crashed his vehicle into oncoming traffic. The deputy in pursuit then rear-ended the suspect’s car.

The suspect died on scene. Both the deputy and the woman whose car he hit head-on had just minor injuries.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle that she’s alive. I saw all three vehicles involved, they are all significantly totaled,” said Puelston.

Puelston said deciding to pursue is never easy. Like in this case, decisions are made in a split second.

“Dealing with the stress, dealing with the pressure, dealing with multiple pieces of information that are coming to us at the same time. We were significantly concerned that if we didn’t stop this guy, that something worse was going to happen,” said Puelston.

Puelston said in some cases, they won’t pursue a driver if the risk to the public is too great.

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He said the deputy involved was taken to the hospital, but has just minor injuries and some soreness.

John Lauritsen