Woman tried to drive off with trooper tangled in her steering wheel, officials said. He was injured, and "a crystalline white substance" found.
What began as a routine traffic stop went lethally awry Saturday afternoon when a woman was fatally shot by a Minnesota State Patrol trooper who had pulled her over on westbound Interstate 94.
The shooting happened about 1:40 p.m. a half-mile west of the Interstate 694-494 interchange, just before the Century Avenue (Hwy. 120) exit. The aftermath closed one lane of westbound traffic for much of the afternoon.
The traffic stop began routinely enough, when the trooper noticed an unspecified equipment violation, the patrol's Lt. Col. Matt Langer said at a late afternoon news conference in Oakdale.
During the course of the traffic stop, the officer saw a large amount of "a crystalline white substance," thought to be an illegal drug but not positively identified, in the car, said Drew Evans, a senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), who was also at the news conference. The woman had been asked to step out of her Hyundai, but jumped back into it and tried to flee.
When the officer, a 12-year veteran of the State Patrol, reached in the car to try to get her to stop, his arm became entangled in the steering wheel, and he was dragged along for "a significant distance," Langer said, perhaps 200 feet. The trooper managed to reach his weapon and shot the driver.
She was taken to Regions Hospital, where she died. The trooper was treated for injuries to his wrist, arm and knees, and released. He has been placed on paid leave, which is standard practice after police shootings.
"He's very lucky tonight that he will be going home to his family," Langer said.
An autopsy is expected to confirm the woman's identity, which might be officially released on Sunday, along with the name of the officer, Langer said. The BCA is leading the investigation.
The Hyundai is registered to Debra K. Doree, 48, who lives in Landfall, a community of mobile homes near the shooting scene that hugs the eastern shore of Tanners Lake.
Neighbors said more than a dozen police officers were seen surrounding the home about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, but apparently nobody was there.
Doree has no previous criminal record in Minnesota. Her husband, Scott W. Doree, 53, has multiple criminal and traffic convictions in Pine, Ramsey and Dakota counties, including for drug possession and drunken driving. Family members declined to comment.
The Dorees were good neighbors, said Bob and Jeanette Keilen, who have lived next door for 12 years. Debra Doree "was a very nice person," Jeanette Keilen said, and "Scott has always been decent to us," Bob Keilen said.
The circumstances of Saturday's shooting were similar to those of a March 29, 2010, shooting of a driver by a Cottage Grove police officer during a traffic stop. Robert T. Wilson, 27, was fatally shot in the chest after dragging the officer, whose arm was also entangled in the steering wheel, more than 600 feet trying to flee.
Jim Anderson • 651-735-0999