Hennepin Co Attorney Questioning State Patrol Chase Policy

“The idea of some car coming and mowing down your kids is something that’s hard to comprehend."

Edgar Linares
June 13, 2018 - 5:37 pm
KIds hit following police chase

Susie Jones

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The Richfield man with a revoked license accused of fleeing from State Patrol and crashing into a group of toddlers is now facing charges in Hennepin County, and the Hennepin County Attorney is now questioning the need for the pursuit.

"If a policy really permits this kind of chase, then it really needs to be reviewed," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

On Monday, troopers tried to pull over Kabaar Powell, 27, on westbound Interstate 94 near Fortysixth Street. They say Powell was going over 60 miles an hour. When troopers turned on their lights, Powell sped up and exited on 53rd Avenue North and went into a neighborhood. The chase reached speeds over 80 miles an hour and ended when Powell crashed the SUV he was driving into a group of toddlers playing on a basketball court at Bohanon Park at 50th Ave and Dupont Avenue North.

The children struck included Lillianna Lee Peltier, 3 and Kayden Jay Peltier, 2. They suffered life-threatening injuries and one remains in critical condition. Konnor Jace Peltier, 3, suffered what were termed non-life threatening injuries. Kayden remains in critical condition. 

On Wednesday, two felony counts of fleeing from police and causing great bodily harm were charged against Powell. He’s also facing gross misdemeanor charges of criminal vehicular operation and possessing a pistol without a permit.

By Edgar Linares

“The idea of some car coming and mowing down your kids is something that’s hard to comprehend,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

Three days earlier, Powell, who has not had a valid license for four years, had led other troopers on a chase, but they disengaged.

“As I understand he was speeding and troopers turned on their lights, he refused to pull over and disappeared. He got away,” said Freeman.

Freeman is not sure if troopers were following their own policy when it came to disengaging during Monday's ihgh-speed pursuits. He said it should only be acceptable in extreme cases.

“I think this is an opportunity for them to look at it to make sure their officers were following the policy," said Freeman.

On Monday, shortly after the chase ended State Patrol Captain Jason Bartell handed reporters Minnesota State Patrol’s Pursuit Policy.

“We review our policy after any incident like this,” said Captain Bartell. “Every situation is different; it’s up to the state trooper or supervisor that’s listening.”

Captain Bartell added on Monday that it appears the troopers followed State Patrol protocol.

However, the policy states in some sections to discontinue the pursuit: When there is a clear and unreasonable danger to the Trooper, fleeing motorists, or other persons.

“It’s a clear violation of their policy. Some kind of review or potential sanctions might be in order,” said Freeman. “People’s lives like these kid’s lives are a lot more important than catching this guy in my view.”

Powell is going to appear in Hennepin County court on Thursday.