The Fergus Falls city councilor who died in a car crash while fleeing a state trooper in December was about to lose one of his part-time jobs and was depressed, according to a State Patrol investigation.
Timothy Rundquist, 52, who left behind a wife and four children, intentionally steered his sedan head-on into an Ashby police officer’s squad car along Hwy. 59 north of Elbow Lake, the report found. His death was ruled a suicide by Ottertail County coroner Gregory Smith, who also found Rundquist did not have drugs or alcohol in his system when he died.
In addition to his council seat, Rundquist was a temporary Stevens County assistant attorney and a professor of the business of law at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. He also was a poet and writer who had assembled three anthologies of rural writing.
Rundquist’s job with the Stevens County attorney’s office was scheduled to end this spring. He had worked part-time for the office since 2013.
State Patrol Sgt. Rod Eischens wrote that a friend of Rundquist’s said he had been down about his work in the weeks before his death. On the day he died, Rundquist was supposed to be in Washington state interviewing for a job in the American Samoas, friend David Tookey told Eischens.
Rundquist also posted a message on Facebook a week before his death saying he felt depressed, according to Eischens. “Having a hard time keeping my head above water this December,” he wrote, according to the report. “Seasonal joy simply isn’t there. Any good ideas for spirit lifters?”
A State Patrol trooper caught Rundquist going 65 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone about 5 p.m. on Dec. 22 and tried to pull him over. A video from the trooper’s squad car shows Rundquist ignored the trooper for several miles, stopping twice at stop signs and signaling turns as he drove north through the town of Elbow Lake.
Rundquist sped up to 80 mph as the pursuit wore on. He drove over a stop stick, but continued to drive with a flattened tire, the video shows. About a mile south of Interstate 94, he drove into the parked squad car as the Ashby officer attempted to lay more stop sticks. No one else was injured.
Rundquist did not leave a suicide note, the report said.