MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 19-year-old man has been charged for allegedly leading police officers on a high-speed chase on the freeway, before leaving the vehicle and taking off on a foot chase that lead to shots being fired by police officers.
John Paul Smith was charged in Scott County District Court on April 14 with one count of fleeing police in a motor vehicle, and another count of fleeing police by means other than a motor vehicle, according to the Pioneer Press and Shakopee Valley News.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says on April 11 Smith was driving west on Interstate 494 near Dodd Road. He is accused of doing 92 miles per hour when he passed a Minnesota State Patrol trooper.
The trooper activated his emergency lights and Smith allegedly moved to the shoulder and slowed down, pointing an arm out of the window to signal that he was going to exit the interstate and stop the car. A criminal complaint says he then accelerated at a high rate of speed and shot off.
Parts of the road he was driving on were under road construction and reduced to a single lane. Smith allegedly veered into closed lanes, “knocking over construction cones,” and forcing the trooper to end the chase due to safety concerns.
Law enforcement from Burnsville, Prior Lake, Savage and Shakopee then got involved.
Dispatch watched through “freeway traffic surveillance cameras” as Smith moved on to Interstate 35W, in the southbound direction. A second Minnesota State trooper was waiting to meet him in the area, pulling alongside his vehicle and motioning for him to pull over.
Instead, Smith allegedly took off again, but soon after his vehicle spun out and he lost control near the exit on Cliff Road.
The BCA says Sgt. Thomas Sarych then attempted to disable Smith’s car with a “pursuit intervention technique,” however Smith was able to regain control of the vehicle and drive off again on I-35 southbound.
He merged onto southbound Highway 169, passing vehicles on the shoulder and weaving through traffic, according to law enforcement. Near Eagle Creek Boulevard, he lost control of the vehicle another time and spun out into a ditch.
At that point, police say Smith left the car and ran for it, jumping a nearby chain link fence and fleeing on foot into a nearby neighborhood.
Two Burnsville police officers fired their guns at some point in the foot chase, according to the BCA.
No one was injured by the bullets and both officers are currently on standard administrative leave; they’ve been identified as Sgt. Steve Stoler and Officer Taylor Jacobs.
Smith was eventually taken into custody around noon in the 1300 block of Pine Tree Lane. The BCA believes he may have attempted to carjack a vehicle during the foot chase.
BCA agents are asking “the driver of a silver passenger car near the intersection of Vierling Drive East and Eagle Creek Boulevard around noon,” to call them at 651-793-7000.
If convicted, Smith is looking at more than three years in prison and $6,000 in fines. A criminal complaint has described him as being homeless, but the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said he was living in Willmar, according to multiple news reports.