A driver was fatally injured when his car was struck by a motorist fleeing police Wednesday night in north Minneapolis, authorities said.

The three-vehicle crash happened around 6:20 p.m., shortly after two Minneapolis police officers were called to the 3300 block of N. Aldrich Avenue on a report of two suspicious vehicles. Police had reason to believe that the cars were involved in a drug deal, according to police spokesman John Elder.

Upon arrival, officers approached the drivers of each vehicle. As one officer returned to his squad car to use the computer, one of the suspect vehicles suddenly peeled off, nearly hitting his partner. The officer jumped out of harm’s way before running back to the cruiser in an attempt to pursue the driver, Elder said.

Before officers could catch up, they found the wreckage of a crash a few blocks away, on the 3600 block of Aldrich.

“They were never close enough for it to be considered a pursuit,” said Elder, who added that officers did activate their lights and siren. “The squad video is going to confirm what I’m saying.”

The male suspect, 27, had slammed into an unoccupied parked car and a compact blue sedan, gravely injuring its driver. The injured man was taken to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, where he died of his injuries.

The fleeing suspect, a Brooklyn Park man, was arrested. He was to be booked into the Hennepin County jail Wednesday night on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide. It’s unclear how fast he was traveling at the moment of impact.

Police found a firearm on the seat of his vehicle, according to emergency dispatch audio.