Two passengers in a stolen car died Friday afternoon after a police pursuit ended in a crash in a Maplewood front yard, authorities said. Both deceased crash victims were apparently juvenile males, a witness said.
The pursuit began about 3:40 p.m. when a Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy spotted a stolen car and attempted to pull the driver over near North Beebe Road and East Holloway Avenue, just east of Goodrich Golf Course, according to the Ramsey County sheriff’s office.
The driver didn’t stop, authorities said, and the deputy lost sight of the car as it fled westbound on Larpenteur Avenue. The deputy next saw the car about 2 miles away, crashed in a yard near the intersection of Larpenteur and Chamber Street, just east of Lake Phalen.
After the crash, which occurred about 2 minutes after the pursuit began, three occupants of the car ran away on foot. Two remained inside the vehicle. They were critically injured and later died. Two of the three who fled on foot were found and arrested.
Authorities had not found the driver as of Friday night.
The sheriff’s office did not release additional information, including whether the two crash victims who died were adults or juveniles.
However, at least one witness believed those in the car were juveniles.
Ken Mogel, a surgical nurse, lives six doors down from the crash and rushed to help as soon as he heard the impact. He said the occupants of the car all looked very young and were apparently juveniles.
“I heard a huge crash and came out to see an officer yelling at (an occupant) to get out of the car and not move,” Mogel said.
Mogel said the small car had rolled and was “completely torn up” where it had come to rest in a neighbor’s yard. Two male passengers, who looked severely injured, were still in the car.
“I asked (the officer) if he needed any assistance because it looked like people were gravely injured.”
The officer said he could use help, Mogel said, so he began first aid on one passenger who had cuts all over his arms, legs and chest and had very labored breathing. The other passenger was bleeding profusely from his head. Mogel rushed to find a pulse and found one, but it was “extremely weak.”
That victim was pulled out of the car and then paramedics, who had arrived, began lifesaving measures.
“The kids were all minors — maybe 16 or 17,” Mogel said. “It was really sad and really tragic.”
Sheriff’s officials were still searching for the driver, who they say has a “significant” history of auto theft. Others in the vehicle also were known to authorities in connection with auto thefts.
The Ramsey County sheriff’s office, St. Paul Police Department, St. Paul Fire Department, Maplewood Police Department, Maplewood Fire Department, North St. Paul Police Department and the Minnesota State Patrol all responded to the crash. The State Patrol is conducting a reconstruction of the crash, which remains under investigation.
The names of the two deceased crash victims will be released later by the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office, the sheriff’s office said.