MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis police say five people are injured and one man is in custody after a suspected carjacker hit a pair of teenage siblings, several vehicles and a business Monday afternoon in the Midtown Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods.
Minneapolis Police Spokesperson John Elder says an off-duty officer pulled up to an “animated” group at about 2:15 p.m. on 17th Avenue South at East 26th Street. The group said a driver had just sped southbound down 17th Avenue in “a very erratic manner.” The officer headed in that direction and came across a van about a block away that was sideways into the road. The officer thought at first the van was the suspect vehicle, but the van had actually been parked and was struck by the suspect.READ MORE: Bemidji Police Asking For Public's Help Locating Missing Teeen, Sian-Rose Tappo
The officer kept going southbound on 17th Avenue and found another crash at East Lake Street. The officer then saw a vehicle make a U-turn in the intersection before attempting to ram their squad car. The driver did make contact with the squad before driving eastbound in the westbound lanes of East Lake Street. The driver then hit a light pole and a curb before the vehicle became non-functional and started on fire.
Police say the driver refused to exit the vehicle even though it was engulfed in flames. Officers were able to rescue the suspect and arrest him. He is in serious but stable condition.
The officers at that time were unaware that before the suspect hit the squad car, he had hit two siblings — a 19-year-old woman and a 14-year-old boy — in the intersection of East Lake Street and 17th Avenue. The boy was hit so hard that he went flying through the window of the bakery Panderia y Pasteleria San Miguel, ending up inside the store. His older sister hit the side of the building coming to rest on the sidewalk. Both teens are in critical condition.
Two people inside the bakery were also hurt. Police say one victim is in serious but stable condition, while the other declined medical treatment. The building also sustained major damage.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
“I can’t even explain how loud it was,” said neighbor Chris Gildseth.
One neighbor says she tried to help the man behind the wheel.
“As soon as I was about to like walk in the street, he started revving the engine up again. The airbags were deployed, he backed up super-fast and just sped off. I couldn’t even see his face,” said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
Video from surveillance cameras show the car speeding off after crashing into the van before hitting the teenagers.
“This is horrific,” Elder said. “To have children run over through no fault of their own, to have a person inside of a building be harmed by this person, you know. this is a tragedy. These children lived, that’s great, but these could be life-changing injuries.”MORE NEWS: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming?
Police are waiting on toxicology results to determine if the driver of the stolen car was impaired. He is in serious condition and in custody.