State Patrol releases video of pursuit that lead to crash on playground

Pursuit policy changes are under discussion

Sloane Martin
December 04, 2018 - 1:42 pm

MN Dept. of Public Safety

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Disturbing video released by the State Patrol Tuesday shows the moments when a man rammed his SUV into a family at a north Minneapolis playground while being chased by troopers.

The morning of June 11, troopers attempted to pull over 27-year-old Kabaar Powell in a Ford Expedition for speeding and not wearing a seatbelt on 94 north near 49th Avenue. Over the next 6 minutes, he would lead troopers on a pursuit, reaching over 80 miles per hour on surface streets and blowing through two dozen stop signs. The video shows him veering left into the lawn of Jenny Lind Elementary and striking members of the Peltier Family. Three children were seriously injured.

The State Patrol's pursuit policy came under fire. Some wondered if dangerous driving on residential streets outweighs the need to stop a speeding suspect.

State Patrol Chief Colonel Matt Langer stood by the troopers involved, who are still working.

"Our pursuit policy afford troopers the discretion to make those decisions and they're trained both on the skill of driving fast and also the decision-making required," he said at a news conference in St. Paul. "We've had that question amongst the agency. We've talked about it. We've heard from the public. Ultimately, it's a subjective test to determine if we believe that it was within our policy and we do believe that that was the case."

Since the crash, the State Patrol has convened a Critical Incident Review Board, conducted additional training, worked with University of Minnesota researchers and has explored any technology that could aid troopers.

Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety

Langer says a policy change to exclude city streets or only pursue violent offenders is under consideration.

"But if we were to change our policy today to that model, my fear is that more and more people will just choose to not stop," he said. "And this dangerous (pursuit) problem that is increasing will just increase more. he answer to your question is: it's not outside the realm of possibility. We're researching it. But at this point, I don't believe that's in the best interest of public safety for Minnesota for the State Patrol to adopt that type of policy."

Nicole Peltier was not on the playground the day the family's lives changed. In September she came out to help rebuild the playground with hundreds of volunteers. She said 2-year-old Kayden, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and other injuries, was improving, but some symptoms could be with him the rest of his life.

"You know, we're working through it," she said then. "He's healing. He's walking. He's talking. He does have nerve damage on his right side still, but we're totally blessed. In every way imaginable."

Warning: the State Patrol did obscure the actual collision in the video, but it may still be disturbing to watch: