KASSON, Minn. — A man who was to be arrested on a charge of criminal sexual conduct died Wednesday, Sept. 23, in a head-on crash after he sent officers a suicidal picture and then drove away from police.
The suspect is believed to have intentionally driven head-on into another vehicle that was veering off into the shoulder trying to avoid the crash, according to Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Troy Christianson.
The driver in the other vehicle, a Chevrolet pickup, was taken to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys in Rochester with non-life-threatening injuries, Christianson said.
Olmsted County Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Behrns, speaking on behalf of the Rochester Police Department from the scene of the fatal crash, said that police were looking for the man Wednesday morning when he sent a picture to the lead investigator indicating that he had slit his wrists in a vehicle.
The situation then turned into a person-in-crisis call, and police and sheriff’s deputies began looking for the man. Law enforcement used cellphone data to try to locate the man.
Sometime before the person-in-crisis call, the man’s vehicle was seen speeding in Byron. An Olmsted County Sheriff’s deputy saw the vehicle and stopped to turn around to follow it, but the vehicle sped off. The deputy did not pursue it, Behrns said.
Kasson Police Chief Josh Hanson said that his department was notified that the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office was looking for a vehicle and that deputies had probable cause to arrest the driver.
A Kasson officer spotted a vehicle, later determined to be the suspect vehicle, rolling through a stop sign. The suspect vehicle again drove off at a high rate of speed when the officer began to take steps to follow it.
It is unclear how much time passed between that incident and when the vehicle crashed head-on into another vehicle.
The Minnesota State Patrol is handling investigation of the crash.