The father of three children who were run over on a Minneapolis playground by a driver fleeing two State Patrol squad cars questions the troopers' decision to continue a high-speed chase on city streets.
Kyle Peltier was with his seven children at Jenny Lind Elementary School June 11, when a full-size SUV crashed into the playground and critically injured his 2-year-old son, Kayden.
Charges against the SUV's driver, 27-year-old Kabaar W. Powell, of Minneapolis, revealed that a trooper pursued Powell on June 8 in roughly the same part of the city but gave up the chase after Powell ran four stop signs.
On June 11, Powell ran 22 stop signs on residential streets in a pursuit that lasted about 6 minutes, at times topped 80 miles per hour and didn't end until the SUV hit the children.
"I still wonder why, why it was OK to end the pursuit on Friday after four stop signs were run, and not on Monday after 20-plus stop signs were run?" Kyle Peltier said.
Kyle and his wife, Nicolle, said they have hired an attorney and intend to sue the State Patrol.
The patrol has declined to address whether the troopers followed policy when they saw Powell speeding on Interstate 94 and decided to give chase off the highway onto city streets.
That policy lists numerous circumstances that require a pursuit to be discontinued, including "when there is a clear and unreasonable danger to the trooper, fleeing motorist or other persons."
Kyle and the children were at the playground while Nicolle was taking an exam at St. Paul College.
"When I turned and saw the SUV and lights that followed, I pushed my 7-month-old out of the way," Kyle Peltier said in a brief interview Monday.
"I turned to save Kayden and [daughter] Lillie, but I was too late. They had been hit already.
"I rushed to Kayden and was screaming, 'No! Kayden! Kayden!' "
The father said the troopers gave him no explanation, but rather, "I was questioned on what I saw before my children were ran over by an SUV."
Powell remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail on charges of criminal vehicular operation, fleeing police and having a gun in public without a permit.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has questioned the wisdom of the troopers' actions, saying, "Residential streets just aren't made for people driving 80 miles per hour. ... People's lives, like these kids' lives, are a lot more important than catching this guy, in my view."
Four-year-old Lillianna and 3-year-old Konnor have been released from the hospital, but Kayden remains in critical condition.
Kayden has had surgery to remove his spleen, and suffered serious blood loss, fractures in his neck and pelvis, and bleeding in his skull.
"[Kayden] is strong on his left, but not the same on his right," Nicolle Peltier said Tuesday.
"We still need time to see his brain heal. This will be an extremely long road to recovery, not only for Kayden but for the whole family."
A Wayzata couple who didn't know the Peltiers reached out to the family and were given permission to start an online fundraising effort for them.
It has collected more than $13,000 in pledges so far.