A man led police from multiple jurisdictions on a 64-mile pursuit Monday night through central Minnesota, ending when officers were finally able to use a so-called PIT maneuver to force the fleeing driver to lose control and stop.
Officers arrested Jason Michael Ashwill, 47, of Dassel, Minn., in Morrison County about an hour after the pursuit began in the parking lot of a Waite Park grocery store, said Waite Park Police Chief David Bentrud.
Police successfully used stop sticks to puncture — eventually — all four tires, but Ashwill still didn’t stop.
It all unfolded around 11 p.m. when a man in a street sweeper conducting parking lot maintenance at a Cash Wise Foods store was approached by Ashwill, who yelled and threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop the work within 30 seconds. The man in the street sweeper called police, according to charges filed in Stearns County District Court.
When Waite Park officers arrived, they spotted Ashwill in a vehicle driving erratically in circles in the parking lot. Officers attempted to stop him. Ashwill took off, Bentrud said.
As speeds reached 100 mph, Ashwill threw multiple objects out of his vehicle as deputies from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and the Kimball Police Department joined the pursuit, the charges said.
Officers used stop sticks to flatten two tires. He continued driving on rims at 50 to 70 miles per hour, Bentrud said.
Police then deployed more stop sticks, which flattened another of the suspect’s tires. Ashwill crashed his vehicle in a ditch near Kimball but was able to turn around and head back into St. Cloud.
The State Patrol set out more stop sticks, which Ashwill hit in St. Cloud. But he kept driving with four flat tires until close to Little Falls where police used a PIT maneuver that forced him to move sideways and lose control. Ashwill was arrested around midnight and taken to jail.
He was charged Wednesday with making terroristic threats and fleeing police in a motor vehicle.