Minneapolis parents of children hit by SUV in police chase intend to sue the State Patrol

"The law requires that officers use reasonable care even when engaged in these pursuits."

Susie Jones
June 19, 2018 - 2:34 pm
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The family of a 2-year-old boy who was gravely injured last week when he was struck by SUV fleeing police is now considering filing a lawsuit.

The potential defendant: The Minnesota State Patrol.

Jim R. Schwebel, the attorney representing the family, said he is still in the process of gathering information on the case, with a particular focus on one key question: Why troopers didn't call off the high-speed pursuit once it entered a residential neighborhood.

"The law requires that officers use reasonable care even when engaged in these pursuits," said Schwebel.

The two-year-old boy, Kayden Peltier, is still unconscious, with a broken back and a brain injury.

"It's just been a nightmare for them," Schwebel said. "He will certainly suffer the effects of this the rest of his life, and his medical expenses alone will exceed a million dollars."

According to Schwebel, the child's father, Kyle Peltier was at a park in North Minneapolis playing with his children when he saw a Ford Expedition rapidly approaching. He pushed his seven-month-old daughter, who was in a stroller, out of the way, but when he turned, it was too late, the SUV had hit his son Kayden, and his other daughter, four-year-old Lilliana Peltier.

The State Patrol reported that troopers were trying to pull over the SUV for speeding on I-94 about 9:30 am last Monday morning.  The driver, 27-year-old Kabaar Powell took off, and got off the freeway and continued to flee on surface streets before driving through the park and hitting the two children.

Powell was charged in Hennepin County with a felony and gross misdemeanors for fleeing officers and vehicular operation causing bodily harm. The complaint says the six-minute chase hit speeds of 80 miles per hour,  and that Powell blew through 22 stop signs.

Troopers found an unlicensed and loaded 9mm pistol inside the vehicle.

Schwebel said the law requires that officers take into consideration the severity of the offense. "For instance, if the offense is murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, they are authorized to engage in a pursuit,” he said.

But if the offense is a misdemeanor speeding as it was in this case, Schwebel said they had no right to chase the suspect into a residential neighborhood.

He said they could have stopped the chase, and followed up later as they had the suspect's license plate number.

"We don't know what was going on in the officers' minds, but it is certainly a matter that  must be investigated and if necessary there should be prosecution of the officers involved."

The State Patrol is not commenting on the case calling it an active investigation