Noxious emissions of chemicals from inside a suspect van sickened four Blaine police officers after a Tuesday morning chase into Lino Lakes, authorities said.
The officers were taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, and “we are happy to say our officers have all been released,” Blaine Police Lt. Dan Pelkey said early Tuesday afternoon.
The driver of the van also was briefly treated at the hospital, while a passenger in the vehicle did not require medical attention.
Hazardous materials personnel spent hours at the scene investigating what made the officers fall ill, Pelkey said.
“The source appears to have been a combination of a leaking propane tank and a number of used spray-paint cans that were in the vehicle,” Pelkey said.
Inhaling propane or aerosol propellants “can often create symptoms such as the officers were reporting,” the lieutenant added, “difficulty breathing, dizziness and weakness.”
Police also seized a loaded gun from the van, Pelkey said. The driver was arrested, while the passenger was questioned and released.
The rolling drama began shortly after 8:15 a.m. near the Wal-Mart on Ball Road, where an officer tried to stop a van “for suspicious activity,” the lieutenant said.
The suspects fled, and the officers gave chase heading north for more than 3 miles until police bumped the van to a halt at Lake Drive and Town Center Parkway in Lino Lakes in what is called a PIT maneuver, Pelkey continued.
As the officers neared the vehicle, they had difficulty breathing from something emanating from inside the van, Pelkey said. Two more officers arrived and also fell ill.
Authorities have yet to release the identities of the suspects, nor have they said what the two were doing to attract police attention.