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April 11: Assault charges for Vikings legend Carl Eller

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and ABBY SIMONS
  • Star Tribune
  • April 30, 2008 - 2:03 PM

Minnesota Vikings legend Carl Eller faces two felony charges related to what police described as a profanity-laced, drunken and violent confrontation with officers at his north Minneapolis home.

Eller, 66, was charged Thursday with fourth-degree assault and terroristic threats, both felonies. He also was charged with drunken driving and refusing to submit to a sobriety test, both gross misdemeanors. He was released from the Hennepin County jail on $50,000 bail late Thursday afternoon and declined to speak with reporters.

Police said that on Wednesday, Eller hit two officers several times, threatened to kill them, and threw one of them onto the hood of his Mercedes during a scuffle in his garage after the officers caught up to him after a short pursuit.

It took the arrival of at least three other officers to subdue Eller by placing him in a neck hold. Attempts to subdue him with a Taser gun failed.

According to the complaint:

Police on patrol saw Eller in a Mercedes speeding westbound on 8th Avenue N. and ignoring a stop sign.

Once the marked squad car approached, Eller swerved toward the police vehicle, missing it by inches. Police pursued him, but Eller ran another stop sign before pulling in behind his home.

Officers approached Eller to speak with him, but he locked his car doors and stared at them.

The officers ordered him to get out, but Eller opened his garage door and pulled his car forward, nearly striking the officers. They prevented him from closing the garage door. Eller tried to enter his home, prompting officers to confront him.

At that point, he "became combative" and said to the officers: "I'm gonna kick your ass if you don't let me go" adding he would kill them.

The complaint, which called Eller -- a Pro Bowl defensive lineman during his playing career -- "very strong," refers to him throwing Officer Seth Porras onto the hood of his Mercedes, then squaring off and punching Officer Gil Antaya in the face. He also grabbed Antaya's calf, index finger and thumb. Eller was finally subdued after officers frantically called for help. Porras and Antaya were briefly hospitalized.

Police said they detected a "strong odor of alcoholic beverages" on Eller, who refused a sobriety test.

In 2006, Eller pleaded guilty to fourth-degree drunken driving while refusing a chemical alcohol test. His two-year probation ended last month.

pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482 asimons@startribune.com • 612-673-4921

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