A suspected drunken driver shed his handcuffs while in the back of an Edina squad car and attacked a police officer along a dark highway, authorities said Monday.

The 25-year-old Lakeville man remained jailed Monday awaiting assault charges. The officer was treated at Fairview Southdale Hospital for head wounds, police said.

The man's troubles began about 2:50 a.m. Sunday when he drove too close to the officer's squad car and the vehicle she had pulled over on Hwy. 169, near the Londonderry Road exit, police said.

The officer jumped in her car and went after the driver, who was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, police said. A preliminary breath test measured the man's blood alcohol content at 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit for driving.

That's when he got one hand free from the metal handcuffs and warned the officer that he was about to vomit. The officer opened the door, allowing the suspect to grab her by the hair and hit her multiple times before fleeing on foot. With the help of other agencies, the suspect was caught a little more than a mile to the north.

Paul Walsh