Pursuit ends with motorist falling to death in St. Paul

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 22, 2012 - 11:39 PM

A motorist being pursued by police crashed his pickup truck on a St. Paul overpass near downtown early Thursday and then fell about 50 feet to his death, authorities said.

St. Paul police identified him as Keith A. Johnson, 38, of Apple Valley.

Johnson was not ejected from his truck when it crashed, according to a St. Paul police statement: "Officer statements indicate that Johnson was seen crawling in the vehicle after it crashed and came to a stop on the bridge."

It is unknown why he left the pickup and why and how he went over the guardrail on the Hwy. 52 overpass, police said.

However, a police-monitoring website captured scanner audio from the scene that includes an officer saying, "He's jumping over the bridge right now."

Johnson died of multiple injuries from falling or jumping to the ground below, police said.

The pursuit began with a traffic stop in Maplewood. Maplewood Deputy Police Chief Dave Kvam said officers were initially drawn to Johnson's truck because he did not signal a turn. His driver's license was suspended, he said.

Johnson might also have had two felony-level warrants, Kvam said.

According to police: Shortly after midnight, a Maplewood police officer stopped Johnson's vehicle on southbound Hwy. 61 near Parkway Drive. As the officer walked toward the vehicle, it sped away.

Police in St. Paul joined the pursuit near Maryland Avenue, with officers following the man south on Arcade Street, before turning west onto East 7th Street. Ultimately, the man turned south onto the Hwy. 52 bridge, where he crashed into a concrete guardrail.

PAUL WALSH

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