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Police chase started with attempted traffic stop

BEMIDJI – More details have emerged in last Friday morning’s police chase that ended with a Bemidji man being airlifted to a hospital. 

Robin James Hill, 39, led police through a chase in rural Cass Lake early Friday morning after police attempted to pull him over for speeding. Hill, who was driving alone, was airlifted to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, N.D., after crashing the sport utility vehicle.

The Minnesota State Patrol listed it as a “serious injury” but Hill’s condition was not available Wednesday at the hospital. A hospital spokeswoman would not confirm he was a patient there.

Police smelled alcohol in the totaled 1998 Dodge Durango, according to an incident report provided by the Leech Lake Tribal Police department. Hill was not wearing a seatbelt.

A felony warrant was issued for his arrest Feb. 26 for violating probation. He was convicted of felony domestic assault in October, according to Beltrami County court records.

According to the police report:

Hill’s driver’s license had also been cancelled.

He was seen driving north on Roosevelt Road Southeast near the Palace Casino Hotel just after midnight Thursday, traveling at 55 mph in a 35 mph zone.

A Leech Lake police officer attempted to stop Hill, but he turned on Mission Road Southeast and continued traveling northeast at 40 to 50 mph. The officer noticed that Hill was swerving, and his passenger-side tires left the road at one point.

When the vehicle approached Porcupine Lane, northeast of Mission Lake, an object appeared to be thrown from the car, according to the police report. Hill sped up to 70 mph and then 90 mph after rounding the curve near Littler’s Road Southeast.

“It should be noted that we were traveling through a rural area with little traffic on the roadways,” the police report reads.

Soon after, Hill lost control when he crossed the Power Dam Road Northeast intersection, where Mission Road turns into a gravel surface. The vehicle appeared to have rolled several times before coming to a rest upright against a large pine tree, the report states.

Hill was conscious after the crash, but told police that his back was hurting and he couldn’t feel his legs.

“At this time it is unknown what type of injuries that Robin sustained in the crash,” the police report states.

Members of the Cass Lake Fire Department had to cut away part of the vehicle’s roof to get Hill out.

Hill has a criminal history dating back to 1992 that includes multiple convictions for assault and DWI. The October conviction for felony domestic assault was Hill’s first appearance in the court system since 2006, according to records.

JUSTIN GLAWE contributed to this report.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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