ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A 31-year-old from Columbia Heights has been charged with four counts after leading police on a deadly chase in an allegedly stolen vehicle earlier this week.
A criminal complaint has been filed against Michael Anthony Bruce in connection with the Jan. 4 incident.
The complaint says that troopers noticed the stolen 2013 Kia Optima early that morning driving at least 20 mph over the speed limit on Interstate 94 in St. Paul, driving erratically and weaving in and out of the lane. The troopers then attempted to box the vehicle, which slowed down before ramming into the back of one of the squad cars.
The vehicle was then observed speeding up to 100 mph on southbound Highway 61. It exited on the ramp to Bailey Road, lost control and struck a concrete wall at about 50 to 60 mph.
The driver, later identified as Bruce, was taken into custody. He told arresting officers that he’d ingested heroin; he was also seen wearing clothes with the security tags still attached.
One of the passengers, 54-year-old Brenda Schaaf, was killed in the crash. The state patrol said she was not wearing a seat belt. Another passenger, a 35-year-old woman from Minneapolis, was also hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening. A small bag of suspected methamphetamine was found on her person.
A number of drugs were found inside the vehicle, the charges state.
Bruce is charged with four felony counts, including criminal vehicular homicide, fleeing a peace officer and stealing a motor vehicle. The most serious of those charges carries with it a potential penalty of 40 years in prison and/or a $80,000 fine upon conviction.