A roughly 21 mile, high speed police chase through Granite Falls, Sacred Heart and Renville Sunday afternoon nearly resulted in numerous accidents before officers apprehended a 30-year-old Fairmont man, Brandon Sommer, who may have had a death wish.
According to a complaint report, a Granite Falls Police Officer was dispatched to intercept a small tan SUV traveling north toward Granite Falls on Highway 23 that had narrowly missed causing several head-on collisions.
Meeting up with the SUV just north of County Road 17, four miles south of Granite Falls, the driver was clocked at 97 MPH. Upon activating his siren, the officer reported that the SUV showed no signs of braking and continued to travel in excess of 90 miles per hour while using the shoulder to pass traffic.
Near hits and misses ensued as the driver turned onto Highway 212 and passed through Granite Falls in excess of 60 MPH. Upon passing the junction at Highway 23, speeds again approached 100 MPH. At one point, Sommer was said to have straddled the middle dividing line passing in between automobiles travelling both directions at his left and right.
An initial attempt to halt the chase with stop sticks in Sacred Heart, failed when Sommer recognized the tire spikes and swerved to avoid them. Racing through Sacred Heart at speeds of, or over 80 MPH, he quickly approached Renville where a second, successful attempt, served to flatten the front tires of the SUV at the intersection of Highway 212 and Renville County Road 6.
And yet, even with the two flat tires Sommer continued speeding east into the city of Renville. Two near accidents later and the SUV slowed down in a manner that suggested it was disabled, jumping a curb and coming to a stop at the intersection Highway 212 and 3rd Street.
Officers approached the vehicle with guns drawn and ordered the driver to show his hands and roll down the window. According to the complaint, Sommer mouthed an expletive and then told the officer, “Just shoot me.”
Because of his “combative and dangerous behavior,” a tazer was eventually deployed to aid officers in removing the man from his SUV.
After identifying the suspect, the report says that a controlled substance was found on Sommer’s person. The defendant also made several statements that all he wanted to do was die, and that he had hoped the officers would shoot him.
A blood test was taken, but information as to the results was unavailable. Sommer is presently being held at the Yellow Medicine County Jail on one count of Fleeing of a Peace Officer and one count of Reckless Driving. The charges entail a penalty of three years and one day imprisonment and/or $5,000 fine and 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine, respectively.
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