FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — The man who was killed in a car crash after fleeing St. Anthony police was wanted on two felony warrants.
Thirty-two-year-old Ryan Reeves of White Bear Lake died after he crashed his car into a tree Sunday night near Como Park.
St. Anthony police say an officer pulled Reeves over just after 8 p.m. As the officer walked up to Reeves’ car, he sped away.
The officer jumped back in his car to follow him and within a minute, Reeves crashed near the intersection of Hamline Avenue and Wynne in St. Paul.
Reeves’ family says he struggled with chemical dependency and had a hard time getting a job because of his criminal record. He had a history of convictions for motor vehicle theft and criminal damage to property, plus outstanding felony warrants for fleeing police and controlled substance possession.
They think he got scared when he got pulled over by police, and that’s why he took off.
“People do make mistakes. People have issues all the time. And it wasn’t — this didn’t have to happen,” Reeves’ brother Eric Trudeau said.
Ryan Reeves’ brothers, mother and cousin are grief-stricken, but also disappointed and angry.
“We have witnesses saying that when he crashed the car, cops had their guns drawn, nobody went to help him,” Trudeau said.
St. Anthony police say officers and other emergency responders provided medical attention to Reeves and his passenger, 24-year-old Erica Wood. But Reeves was ultimately pronounced dead.
“A registered nurse came to try to save him and the officers told her no, get away and had their guns drawn,” Ryan’s mother Tracy Reeves said.
Ryan Reeves’ family members have many memories of a man who tried to bring smiles to their faces and who was always willing to lend a helping hand.
“We just need people to know he’s not a bad kid, never was a bad kid. He was amazing, he was a very, very amazing person,” cousin Katena Burke said.
But they say Ryan struggled with addiction. His brother says Ryan was getting treatment, but after a recent bad session in which he abruptly left and later returned, he was turned away and told to return in 30 days.
“He was actually in treatment and he was going to church, he was trying to find God. We prayed for him all the time,” Trudeau said. “He made a bad decision and it cost him his life.”
St. Anthony police called on the Minnesota State Patrol to reconstruct the scene of the crash. They continue to investigate what happened.
Ryan’s family is upset that it took so long for police to notify them of his death. They say they waited at Regions Hospital for hours to learn his condition.
The passenger in the car was Ryan’s girlfriend and she had minor injuries.