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CROOKSTON: Fleeing incident leaves city in the dark

A driver suspected of reckless driving ran from a Polk County deputy early Sunday in Crookston and knocked over a utility pole, blacking out power to the city's 7,800 residents for about 45 minutes.

Within a few hours, the driver was in the local jail awaiting a first appearance in court on three charges, and the lights were back on.

Law enforcement officials said a call came into Crookston police about 3:37 a.m. Sunday of a reckless driver in a gold Pontiac Grand Prix who was squealing tires and hit a fence on Ash Street in Crookston.

Five minutes later, a deputy tried to stop the vehicle on West Sixth Street, but the suspect "failed to stop and attempted to flee," according to news release from the Crookston police.

After a chase of several blocks, the car hit a power pole at Stearns Street and East Ninth Street.

A spokesman for Otter Tail Power said once the pole and transformer were toppled, power was out to the entire city of about 7,810 for 30 to 45 minutes.

The driver was taken by ambulance to Riverview Hospital's emergency room in Crookston for observation, then taken to Northwest Regional Corrections Center nearby.

Tyler Richard Lee, 19, will appear today in state district court facing charges of felony pursuit, damage to property and driving under the influence, a jail spokesman said.

The Otter Tail Power spokesman said once the sector of the city affected by the transformer was isolated, which took 30 to 45 minutes, power was restored to most of the city.

Once the pole was replaced and the transformer fixed, power to that relatively small sector also was restored.

A sheriff's office dispatcher said, judging from citizen calls, everyone had power by about 8:30 a.m. Sunday.