A police chase of carjacking suspects this week through several cities in Ramsey County has a four-legged postscript.
The Sheriff's Office said a pit bull puppy was thrown Monday night from a pickup truck during the chase, and shivered for hours in subzero weather until deputies rescued him from a snowy freeway embankment the next morning.
A woman with a history of suspected animal cruelty was arrested moments after the chase ended.
Deputies rushed the puppy to an emergency veterinarian for treatment of a broken leg and other injuries; he was expected to survive, the Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post.
Deputies named the pup Taho, and he'll remain with the Sheriff's Office and be fostered by a dog-loving employee.
The puppy "did not have tags or [an embedded identification] chip, and we're working to determine its owner," sheriff's spokesman Steve Linders said.
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Foundation is accepting donations to cover medical costs for Taho, which it says have reached $4,500 and may exceed that. Foundation board member Kevin Davy said more than $27,000 had been pledged by late Thursday afternoon.
"We are humbled by the generosity of the community," Davy said.
Any donations above and beyond medical bills, Davy said, would go toward grants for police-community outreach events, youth programs, specialty Sheriff's Office programs such as K-9, SWAT, Honor Guard, and various volunteer programs.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Monday night's events began about 11 p.m. when a deputy tried to pull over a speeding pickup near County Road C and Little Canada Road. But the driver took off in what deputies later learned was a stolen vehicle.
After a short chase, the vehicle pulled over and two men jumped out. Linders said they tried to carjack another vehicle "while clearly displaying a handgun." But when that failed, they returned to the abandoned pickup and drove off.
A second deputy joined the westbound pursuit on the wrong side of Interstate 694, just west of Lexington Avenue in Arden Hills, and used his squad car to stop the fleeing pickup.
The men again jumped out and fled. However, two women remained in the vehicle and were apprehended. In the meantime, the fleeing men split up and carjacked separate vehicles. One of the vehicles was found abandoned in Mounds View, while the other has yet to be located.
The Sheriff's Office later said that as the suspects raced the wrong way on I-694, the passenger's side back door opened. A deputy yelled, "Watch for a gun!"
Instead, something white was tossed onto the freeway and rolled onto the freeway between Lexington and Hamline avenues. When deputies reviewed video of those moments, they realized that white object was the puppy.
Deputies searched the next morning and found him alongside the freeway about 50 yards from where he was thrown. Overnight temperatures in that part of the Twin Cities had bottomed out at 12 degrees below as the dog burrowed in the snow.
Linders said one of the two women from the stolen pickup was jailed on suspicion of aiding auto theft and animal cruelty. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged.
The 26-year-old woman and a male accomplice are accused of taking part in the shooting of an acquaintance's dog 10 to 12 times with a BB gun inside a stolen SUV in November 2021, according to auto theft and animal cruelty charges filed in Hennepin County.
The two abandoned the wounded dog in Bloomington and drove off as the dog ran after the vehicle, according to the charges. One of the BB shots cost the dog an eye.