Hours after he was released from jail, a man stole a car full of children in downtown Minneapolis on Christmas Eve and led police on a high-speed chase before crashing in Maple Grove, according to charges filed this week.
Samuel Adam McFarlane, 28, of Princeton, faces felony charges of kidnapping, first-degree aggravated robbery and criminal vehicular operation causing substantial bodily harm in connection with the incident. McFarlane, who was booked into the Hennepin County jail Dec. 23 on an unrelated matter and released about 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve without charges, told police he was looking for heroin when he stole the idling car at the SuperAmerica gas station near Grant Street and LaSalle Avenue. Inside were five children ranging in age from 1 to 13.
According to the criminal complaint:
The driver of the car, along with her mother and sister-in-law, went inside the gas station, while the children waited in the car. The oldest child later told police McFarlane walked over and got in the driver’s seat. One of the children tried to lock the doors but couldn’t reach because she had her little brother in her lap. McFarlane took off, and while one of the children tried to take the keys from the ignition, McFarlane allegedly pointed a gun at her face, also pointing the gun at the children in the back seat. When McFarlane stopped, several children tried to get out, with one hitting her head on the pavement when he shoved her out. McFarlane ran over that child’s leg, stopping only when another child yelled to him that her sister’s leg was under the car. All five were able to escape and two of them walked to the gas station and told their mother what happened as McFarlane took off.
A state trooper caught up with McFarlane in Maple Grove and gave chase at speeds that reached more than 100 mph all the way to Rogers. During the chase, McFarlane rammed several squad cars, civilian vehicles and a building before the vehicle went off-road and he was arrested.
McFarlane told police he was downtown looking to buy heroin, but couldn’t find any. He told police he thought somebody in the car full of children had stolen his cellphone, and after getting in and letting them out of the vehicle decided to drive to Princeton. Once he saw flashing lights in his rearview mirror, he decided to speed up and get away. During the chase, he said he thought about killing himself.
McFarlane was returned to the Hennepin County jail in lieu of $300,000 bail. When the complaint was signed, the child had a temporary cast and could not walk on her leg.